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Leonardo da Vinci

Whenever people talk about the great geniuses, one of the names which usually gets mentioned is Leonardo da Vinci. There is certainly good reason for this because Leonardo da Vinci was a man of many talents and was also one of the most innovative thinkers of all time. Leonardo da Vinci came from very humble beginnings. In fact, he was born on 15 April in 1452 as the illegitimate son of a public notary and a peasant woman. His parents never married each other and Leonardo grew up with his father's family in Vinci throughout his childhood. Because he was illegitimate, he could not inherit any of his father's land or money. However, from an early age, he showed a keen fascination with nature. At age 14, Leonardo da Vinci went to Florence to study under an artist known as Verrocchio. This marked the official beginning of Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable career.

Throughout his life Leonardo da Vinci showed his genius in many ways including the following:

When Leonardo da Vinci (as an apprentice) assisted Verrocchio in painting The Baptism of Christ, his painting showed the angel in a realistically twisted position. This was unprecedented in the known history of painting. As an artist, Leonardo da Vinci continued to demonstrate techniques that were well ahead of his time, even in his many unfinished works. Some of his famous works include The Last Supper, John the Baptist, and The Virgin of The Rocks. However, his most famous painting was the Mona Lisa which is still one of the most celebrated works of art in human history.

Innovative Concepts
Leonardo da Vinci documented many innovative concepts in his notes. However, many of these inventions were never constructed because they were too far ahead of their time. For example, he constructed models for flying machines which would never have worked because the technology was just not ready. However, his fixed wing glider only needed a vertical stabilizer to be flyable, and his parachute design was successfully tested by a modern day skydiver. He also conceptualized a swing bridge, a paddle boat which would have functioned very much like the ones of today, and an armored vehicle which was essentially a battle tank. He even conceptualized the use of concentrated solar power from a concave mirror to heat water. Interestingly, this list of innovative concepts by Leonardo da Vinci is by no means all inclusive.

Science and Nature
Leonardo da Vinci conducted a self directed study in anatomy and performed many dissections of human cadavers. As part of his study, he made extremely accurate diagrams of the human body and he was the first known person to recognize and document the condition of atherosclerosis. He recognized this when he compared the cadaver of an old man with that of a young child. Leonardo da Vinci also noticed how well the east coast of South America matches the west coast of Africa, as well as fossilized marine creatures that are located near mountain tops. As a result, he considered a theory of plate tectonics that was somewhat similar to the one that we have today. Leonardo da Vinci also conducted numerous studies in optics, hydrodynamics, and zoology.

This relatively small list of Leonardo da Vinci's accomplishments is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, his innovations and scientific work greatly overshadowed his brilliant works of art. His notes that are accounted for span thousands of pages and cover a huge variety of subjects. However, the possibility that many of his notes may still be missing means that we may never know the full extent of his work. Clearly, Leonardo da Vinci was the quintessential polymath and a genius who was centuries ahead of his time.

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