Recent research has revealed that Leonardo da Vinci understood gravity in the 16th century, long before Galileo, Newton and Einstein came up with their own theories of mutual attraction between objects.
Engineers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) studied Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and discovered that the human’s understanding of gravity The Florentine genius was far ahead of its time.
Da Vinci’s groundbreaking findings were first discovered in early 2017 by Mory GharibHans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautical and Medical Engineering, at the Codex Arundela collection of articles written by Da Vinci covering a variety of topics both personal and science-related.
Between the Sketches by Leonardo da Vincihe came across a series of triangles generated by sand-like particles coming out of a jar.
Da Vinci showed in his notes and diagrams that he knew that the drops would fall vertically, no longer under the movement of the jar, and that the water (or sand) would accelerate downward due to gravity.
As explained Scientific alertthe drawings of the triangles represent “the relationship between natural motion, directed motion, and equalization of motion”, showing that Da Vinci recognized that gravity is a type of acceleration.
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Gharib asked for help from his colleagues Chris Rohassistant professor at Cornell University, and Flavio Noca from the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland in Geneva.
In the articles, Da Vinci detailed an experiment involving a jug of water that sought to mathematically explain acceleration due to gravity. Since Da Vinci used to use mirror writing, the notes have been returned, translated and explored.
The researchers claim that Da Vinci realized that “if the pot were pulled along a horizontal plane at the same speed as the force pulling on the grains, the sand would form the hypotenuse of a triangle.” it is a crucial step on the way to finding the gravitational constant on Earth.
Diagrams showing Leonardo da Vinci’s research on gravity. Credit: Gharib et al., Leonardo, 2022.
And, although there were errors in the calculations, scientists believe what stopped da Vinci was the limitation of the tools available at the time to solve his concepts, such as a way to measure time when objects were falling. .
However, experts say that Da Vinci modeled the gravitational constant with an accuracy close to 97%.
“About 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci attempted to unravel the mystery of gravity and its connection to acceleration through a series of ingenious experiments guided only by his imagination and his masterful experimental techniques,” write the researchers in their article.
We don’t know if Da Vinci conducted further experiments or delved into this issue, but as one of the study’s authors noted, “The fact that Da Vinci struggled with this problem early in the Sixteenth century, shows how advanced his thinking was“.
Let us remember that at the end of the 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton created a law of universal gravitation and attraction of objects on each other; it happened 187 years after Da Vinci made the sketches just studied. Centuries later, in 1907, Albert Einstein developed the principle of equivalence.
Statue of Leonardo da Vinci, located in Florence.
The name of Leonardo da Vinci is synonymous with genius. Born in Italy in 1452, Da Vinci explored his artistic and scientific interests, becoming a leading figure in the Italian Renaissance, a period of flourishing artistic and intellectual curiosity.
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Historians can see how great the man was through the notebooks he left behind. A collection of over 13,000 pagesfilled with sketches of human anatomy, flying machines, and even weapons that wouldn’t exist for hundreds of years, including machine guns and missiles.
Although the fruits of their labor were not recognized or appreciated until many centuries later. Today, people around the world identify Leonardo da Vinci by his inventions and his iconic artwork as the mona-lisa And The last meal.
A man whose vision and intelligence combined science, art and engineering in a unique way that still amazes us today.
The research has been published in Leonardo.
References: Live Science/Phys.
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