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Mention the name Leonardo da Vinci and most people think of famous paintings. Or, maybe the recent book and movie, the Da Vinci Code. But, da Vinci wore many hats including scientist, mathematician, botanist and engineer. In fact, some people consider him to be one of the most diversely talented people to have walked the earth. While few of his sketched designs were constructed in his lifetime, da Vinci had visions and ideas about a multitude of things including solar power, the calculator and the helicopter. It's likely that his ideas eventually fueled many new inventions to come.
In his own time, da Vinci did contribute greatly to a vast array of fields: civil engineering, optics and anatomy. If patents existed in his day, da Vinci would have likely earned his share. Found in his journals were detailed ideas of machines and architecture. While his ideas were not taken seriously at the time, da Vinci did receive recognition as an engineer and once devised a system of barricades to protect Venice from attack.
Finally, while the Wright Brothers are now credited for the first powered airplane, da Vinci had visions of flying and wrote them down long before Orville and Wilbur visited Kittyhawk in 1903. The life of da Vinci offers a moral to current inventors, too: keep a steady flow of ideas and write them all down. You never know which one will take flight.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|