Innovation by Leonardo da Vinci

It is easy to say that a person is “ahead of his time”, but rarely has anyone been so far ahead. He could see the future – his insights suggested new possibilities, his imagination was uncluttered by today, and his inventions really did emerge from the “future back”.

Leonardo da Vinci anticipated many of the great scientific discoveries ahead of his time, including those by Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Darwin. He even went further than them, turning their principles into practical applications, from calculators to helicopters, hydrodynamics to solar power.

  • 40 years before Nicolaus Copernicus, he proclaimed “il sole no si muove” – the sun does not move, dismissing the belief that the earth sits at the centre of the universe.
  • 200 years before Isaac Newton, he proposed the theory of gravity, that “every weight tends to fall towards the centre by the shortest possible way”, and that the Earth must be spherical.
  • 400 years before Charles Darwin, he argued that man and monkey had the same origins, and how evolution has shaped the natural world around us.

How did he do this? The answers lie not in science or technology, but in the way in which he saw the world around him, and how that made him “rethink” …

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