Leonardo da Vinci : The First Scientist

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9780349112749: Leonardo da Vinci : The First Scientist
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This book is both a revelatory biography and an accessible study of Leonardo's life and multi-faceted work as a scientist and engineer. It covers all aspects of the man's life but is also a re-interpretation of the voluminous evidence to paint an original picture of Leonardo da Vinci not only as the archetypal polymath, but as the first true scientist. Topics include:
* A detailed investigation of how Leonardo's manuscripts and notebooks were lost to the world and kept secret during his own lifetime and how this altered the progress of science.
* A thorough analysis of his work as a scientist and how he predated many of the great figures of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Galileo, Kepler, William Harvey, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton.
* Leonardo's legacy -- what did Leonardo leave in his notebooks and how may they be viewed in the light of modern scientific understanding? What did he achieve in science?

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Review:

Though the Mona Lisa may be Leonardo da Vinci's most famous piece of work, some of his other projects have had a far greater impact on the way we live today. It's the scientific inventions that Michael White, who has also written biographies of Darwin, Einstein and Newton, wants to make sure that we don't forget. Leonardo, after all, invented the telescope, flying machine, tank and diving suit among other things.

The word scientist wasn't coined until the 19th century but White makes the assertion that Leonardo was not just a gatherer of random conjectures but the world's first scientist. He asserts that the methods used by Leonardo were as important as the discoveries. In describing an experiment for observing the refraction of light, he concluded: "And form your rule from that." This mirrors the scientific method: "Have your idea, do your experiment, create a hypothesis, develop a rule, repeat the experiment to verify; if not confirmed, then adjust experiment and hypothesis."

Leonardo's scientific ideas take priority in this fascinating book but his life as an artist is also discussed. As White points out, even his art was infused with his understanding of science. "His last and greatest paintings were paeans to his paired skills as an artist and a scientist, celebrations of his twinned talents." --Alex Gray

Review:

White's level-headed assessments of the scientific content of Leonardo's surviving works are characteristically clear and easy to follow . . . [White] sifts fact from opinion in the works of his predecessors, and conveys his own enthusiasm and admiration for his subject (LITERARY REVIEW)

A lively and often informative book (SUNDAY TIMES)

By focusing on the motivational aspects of science, White successfully expands the definition of the term "scientist" . . . [Leonardo's] spirit is present in White's careful scholarship and independence of mind (TES)

Wholly fascinating. (INDEPENDENT)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780316648462: Leonardo : The First Scientist

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ISBN 10:  0316648469 ISBN 13:  9780316648462
Publisher: Little, Brown, 2000
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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This book is both a revelatory biography and an accessible study of Leonardo's life and multi-faceted work as a scientist and engineer. It covers all aspects of the man's life but is also a re-interpretation of the voluminous evidence to paint an original picture of Leonardo da Vinci not only as the archetypal polymath, but as the first true scientist. Topics include:* A detailed investigation of how Leonardo's manuscripts and notebooks were lost to the world and kept secret during his own lifetime and how this altered the progress of science.* A thorough analysis of his work as a scientist and how he predated many of the great figures of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Galileo, Kepler, William Harvey, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton.* Leonardo's legacy -- what did Leonardo leave in his notebooks and how may they be viewed in the light of modern scientific understanding? What did he achieve in science?. Seller Inventory # HUK9780349112749

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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This book is both a revelatory biography and an accessible study of Leonardo's life and multi-faceted work as a scientist and engineer. It covers all aspects of the man's life but is also a re-interpretation of the voluminous evidence to paint an original picture of Leonardo da Vinci not only as the archetypal polymath, but as the first true scientist. Topics include:* A detailed investigation of how Leonardo's manuscripts and notebooks were lost to the world and kept secret during his own lifetime and how this altered the progress of science.* A thorough analysis of his work as a scientist and how he predated many of the great figures of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Galileo, Kepler, William Harvey, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton.* Leonardo's legacy -- what did Leonardo leave in his notebooks and how may they be viewed in the light of modern scientific understanding? What did he achieve in science?. Seller Inventory # HUK9780349112749

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