Page 11 - The 'X' Chronciles Newspaper - June / July 2018 Edition
P. 11

Leonardo, The Science Guy                                                                                 11






                 LEONARD, THE

                   SCIENCE GUY
          A 15th-century man with 21st-century
                             ideas.


          He painted the  Mona Lisa, the most famous
          painting in the world. He also painted the Last
          Supper - probably the most famous fresco in the
          world. But once you sit back and look at
          Leonardo da Vinci’s entire body of work, you’d
          think that painting was just something he did in
          his spare time.
                 He was the true Renaissance man, and
          not just because he lived through it. While his
          countryman Christopher Columbus was out
          exploring the world, Leonardo was exploring
          everything that made the world tick. He’s been
          called the first modern scientist.

          A NICE ITALIAN BOY
          Leoinardo was born in 1452 in the town of
          Vinci. (Because he was illigetimate, he was
          named after his town rather than his father - his
          last name means “from Vinci.”) He started out
          as a painter. Back then, the really good artists
                                                          hear clearly and separately,  even though one  And if the inventor were actually going to make
          were usually employed by aristocrats, who
                                                          might be further away from you than the other.  some of his ideas into reality, he’d need the most
          expected them to design everything from
                                                          This led hi to the concept that everything gives  cutting-edge tools he could event or improve on.
          pageant costumes to weapons. His impressive
                                                          off waves: a rock gives off heat, and food gives  Like:
          list of patrons included the Duke of Milan, a
                                                          off odor - all in waves.                        •  An adjustable monkey wrench that looks a
          cardinal in the Vatican, and the king of France -
                                                                 The ideas would just pop: His notes are     lot like the ones we use today
          not to mention a Borgia here, a Medici there.
                                                          filled with reminders like, “Make glass to      •  A mechanical saw that looks like a modern
                                                          magnify the Moon.” But he never did get            jigsaw
          TOP SECRET
                                                          around to designing the telescope. So little time.  •  A new design for the treadle lathe
          Leonardo studied every scientific subject there
                                                                                                          •  Automatic shears
          was including astronomy, botany, physics,
                                                          FOR GOOD MEASURE                                •  Machines for rolling copper and tin into thin
          geology, optics, meteorology, aerodynamics
                                                          Science can only be as exact as it                 sheets
          ...you name it. Like Albert Einstein, Leonardo
                                                          measurements. In Leonardo’s day, there were no  •  A screw-thread cutter that used a finished
          wasn’t great at math, but he made up for it in
                                                          reliable instruments for measuring speeds or       screw to guide the machine while it  cut a
          diligence; he used strict mathematical rules to
                                                          distances - either on land or on sea - or for      new screw thread
          test his ideas.
                                                          measuring the force of the wind, moisture in the  •  Designs for improvements on the chuck,
                 He wrote about everything he studied -
                                                          air, the amount of rainfall, and so on.            drill, file, hammer, level, nail puller, pickax,
          with illustrations, of course.His notes and
                                                                 In Italy, educated men were still           pipe borer, post-hole digger, and punch
          notebooks, all written backwards, were
                                                          counting on their fingers.  And to measure      •  To life heavy weights in construction jobs,
          decipherable only with a mirror.  This was
                                                          length, they used what was called a  braccio,      he designed a ratchet jack that looked like an
          probably because he was solitary and secretive
                                                          roughly an arm’s length: but ti varied from place  upside-down car jack. It hung inside a huge
          by nature, and was afraid that someone would
                                                          to place, so that a man in Milan reading           tripod, with the hook down, and it could
          steal his ideas. But it’s also possible that he
                                                          dimensions written by a man in Rome might          raise a stone weighing half a ton.
          wanted to hide his work from the authorities,
                                                          interpret them differently.
          who had already stopped his groundbreaking
                                                                 So if our hero were going to throw      FLYBOY
          work in anatomy because dissection went
                                                          himself wholeheartedly into science, he first  Once he had his measuring devices and his
          against the teachings of the Roman Catholic
                                                          had to improve some of the methods of          tools, the sky was the limit. And literally, the sky
          Church. In fact, before he had to stop his
                                                          measuring - and invent new ones. Here are just  was Leonardo’s limit. He was utterly fascinated
          anatomical research, Leonardo was the first
                                                          some of the devices he came up with:           by the idea of human flight. He was the first
          person to draw an accurate picture of the human
                                                           •  An adjustable drawing compass              person to  study it in a scientific way but he got
          heart and describe it’s action.
                                                           •  One of the first clocks that measured      hung up on birds’ wings. He spent years on the
                                                             minutes as well as hours                    futile project of inventing  a machine that would
          MAKE A NOTE OF THAT
                                                           •  A scale that made it easier to read weights  imitate the flapping wings of birds. Experts
          His curiosity was boundless, and Leonard relied
                                                           •  An odometer for wagons, which would        speculate that if he’s worked on inventing a
          on intuition as much as intelligence. He
                                                             measure the distance traveled               glider instead, he might have been the first
          predicted the invention of radio and the
                                                           •  A pedometer, to measure how far someone    person to fly.
          telephone. His notes on the subject say, “Men
                                                             had walked                                         Still, he was the first to think of a
          from the most remote countries shall speak to
                                                           •  An inclinometer, which would measure tilt,  helicopter for human flight. He drew a design
          one another and shall reply,” a prediction that
                                                             as in his flying machine                    for what he called a “helix,” a huge screw
          relied on his work with waves. After noticing
                                                           •  A hygrometer, which measured absolute      really, that would be launched by four men
          that water moves in waves, he extended the         (zero) humidity                             whirling the vertical shaft, each pushing on one
          idea, deciding - with no physical evidence to
                                                           •  An anemometer, to measure how fast the     of the horizontal spokes that projected from
          back him up - that light and sound move in the
                                                             wind blew                                   it.This was absolutely correct in principle: the
          same way. He used as an example the ripples
                                                           •  A device for measuring how much water      outer edge of the screw moved much faster, of
          caused by two stones dropped into the water. As
                                                             expands when it turns to steam.             course, than the central shaft, and this very
          the ripples grow larger and cross each other,
                                                                                                         rapid motion would compress the air below to
          they don’t merge or change their shape. Aha!
                                                          THE HANDY MAN                                  lift the machine.           (Continued on Page 12)
          Just like the sounds of two bells that you can
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