Read The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance by Fritjof Capra Online


Leonardo da Vinci's scientific explorations were virtually unknown during his lifetime, despite their extraordinarily wide range. He studied the flight patterns of birds to create some of the first human flying machines; designed military weapons and defenses; studied optics, hydraulics, and the workings of the human circulatory system; and created designs for rebuilding MLeonardo da Vinci's scientific explorations were virtually unknown during his lifetime, despite their extraordinarily wide range. He studied the flight patterns of birds to create some of the first human flying machines; designed military weapons and defenses; studied optics, hydraulics, and the workings of the human circulatory system; and created designs for rebuilding Milan, employing principles still used by city planners today. Perhaps most importantly, Leonardo pioneered an empirical, systematic approach to the observation of nature-what is known today as the scientific method.Drawing on over 6,000 pages of Leonardo's surviving notebooks, acclaimed scientist and bestselling author Fritjof Capra reveals Leonardo's artistic approach to scientific knowledge and his organic and ecological worldview. In this fascinating portrait of a thinker centuries ahead of his time, Leonardo singularly emerges as the unacknowledged “father of modern science.”From the Trade Paperback edition....

Title : The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385513906
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance Reviews

  • William1
    2019-01-17 20:43

    Bit of a slog for me.

  • Hossam ElbaHrawy
    2019-01-11 00:42

    Leonardo Da Vinci is what God would be if he had a human form.

  • Erin
    2019-01-20 17:40

    An interesting book about the various pursuits of a brilliant mind. The first half focuses on his general biography, the second half the science itself. Capra takes more of a systems dynamics approach to the science, basing it more on what was known during Da Vinci's time, rather than examining the physics from a Newtonian perspective because that is not the type of physics background with which he would have approached these questions, though it is often how it has been interpretted since his notebooks were discovered. A litle repetitive and a little dull at times if you've already had a lot of physics, but definitely worth a read if you're interested in learning about Da Vinci and very accessible, I think, if you haven't had much science training as well.

  • Francisco
    2019-01-01 22:46

    Hábilmente articulado, conjuga una biografía de Leonardo con un estudio sistemático de sus cuadernos de notas, con la intención de destacar la clara anticipación de sus trabajos a su tiempo.Se lee fácil, se aprende... y se constata la importancia de la publicación del trabajo científico para su divulgación.

  • Douglas Summers-Stay
    2019-01-20 19:38

    In order to be an artist, you need to observe carefully. What is under the skin that makes part of the neck bulge like that when a person turns their head? How do reflections on rippled water relate to the rest of the scene? Leonardo was hundreds of years ahead of his time in many of his scientific observations. This books points out what he got right and what he got wrong in optics, geology, physics, mechanics, anatomy, wave theory, and on and on. What he tragically didn't understand about science was that in order to grow it has to be shared. In his time scientific knowledge was mostly kept as a secret.One of the most interesting points was Leonardo's use of the word "spiritual." When he used that word, he meant something like "not made of matter." so light, for instance, is a spiritual entity. When light hits the eye, he guessed, a spiritual influence travels through the optic nerve to the brain, where it harmonizes with other spiritual waves to form perception and memory. It made me understand a little about how other people before the modern era have talked about light and matter and spirit.There's also a biography in the first half of the book, but it seemed pretty much the same as other biographies of Leonardo.

  • Jennifer Nelson
    2018-12-26 17:40

    Leonardo Da Vinci is a most fascinating person to read about. His extremely curious mind, amazing, almost superhuman powers of concentration, and his ability to memorize and synthesize huge amounts of information led to a level of genius in both science and art that has been rarely surpassed. As I was reading, I often wondered to myself, what could he have accomplished in our day and age? He would have absolutely loved the technology we have access to. Probably the most fascinating part was reading about the innovative art techniques he developed that were quite radical and awe-inspiring in his day. One technique he invented and mastered was "sfumato" - the delicate art of blending and melting shades into one another, creating more of a 3D effect. He also was a master at creating light effects in his paintings. I was amazed by the length of time and amount of thought and concentration that went into his works of art (some took several years to finish). This particular book was well done - a bit dry in parts - but informative and evenhanded.

  • Jenny
    2018-12-31 23:43

    I took a look at the biographies of Leonardo da Vinci at the library after watching the first season of Davinci's Demons. I was intrigued by the fact that Fritjof Capra had written what is essentially a scientific biography of da Vinci and checked it out.The book is beautiful and full of images from da Vinci's sketchbooks. Capra provides a brief biography of da Vinci, an overview of his artistic career and then an overview of his scientific and mathematical studies. I found all of it very interesting and well written. I like that Capra made an effort to place da Vinci and his research in his own time and place for the most part, I didn't like Capra's attempts to connect da Vinci to modern ideas like deep ecology or James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis.

  • Paul
    2019-01-08 20:46

    Really nice treatment of an aspect of LDV's genius not often considered at length - the extremely integrative, systems-level nature of his intelligence and practice. Not a Descartian divisionist at all - art, science, engineering, anatomy - all related, all part of what he 'did' in the world. He would take up one, realize the need to know about another - take that up to, and on and on. And his contribution was significant in every field he entered. Loved learning and experimentation as ends in themselves....really cool book. Only quibble I have is I think Capra over-extends 'Cognitive Psychology' to make it fit his thesis....I disagree that CP incorporates all he says it does. But other than that-very enjoyable and educational.

  • Lucy
    2019-01-19 19:48

    "Jakkoli vymýšlí lidský důmysl nejrůznější vynálezy, nikdy nestvoří nic krásnějšího, jednoduššího ani účelnějšího, než vytváří příroda; neboť v jejích výtvorech nic nechybí a nic nepřebývá." (Leonardo da Vinci) Shrnutí nejen Leonardova živata ale i díla. Doporučeno.

  • Ev.
    2019-01-03 00:37

    Read this in high school when I had a huge crush on Leo da Vinci. Yeah. Don't judge me.

  • Steven Kaminski
    2018-12-31 22:51

    My main takeaway from this book? Man I wish I was smarter. This book gives a great breakdown with reproductions of Leonardo Da Vinci's actual drawings from his notebooks. It went through his life through the notebooks and the evolutions of his interests. Da Vinci contributed over 300 inventions to the world. And because he was an honest researcher who wanted to learn about everything he went from being 'unlearned' (he never got a formal education) to creating studies of anatomy, fluid dynamics, mechanical engineering, painting, sculpting, botany, aerodynamics! The list goes on and on...- He was a pacifist yet advised many rulers as a military engineer.- He created the design for canal locks which in modern day form are used on everything from dams to the Panama Canal.- Pattern recognition was the key to his idea about universality. In many ways everything was connected. He held painting as one of the highest culminations of art and science because that was what he made to be. The ideas of depth perception, perspective...he modernized those. - He was a naturalist and a vegetarian which was rare in those days. He recognized that animals could feel pain and this led him to be more compassionate. - I his study of birds he laid out the foundations for gliders and attempts for human flight. Far greater was his knowledge than previously known because after his death his notebooks were scattered all throughout Europe and even in the modern day people like Bill Gates have been piecing them back together to see his genius once again. Great book and his images are astounding to see...

  • Ann
    2019-01-11 00:54

    Fantastic, fantastic book. What a fascinating read. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of Leonardo's life and achievements, but I was only scraping the surface. The book starts out with a biography of his life, exploring some of his main interests, and his accomplishments in painting, military engineering, and theatre. Then in the second half, really getting into the meat of it, Leonardo's accomplishments in different branches of the sciences. Really, enough cannot be said about his depth of curiosity and observation. Enough cannot be said about how truly far ahead of his time he was. And oddly, this is where the book hits it's only snag. Capra is sometimes so enamored of Leonardo, that it feels like his objectivity is lost, and it raises (slight) concerns that Leonardo's achivements are exaggerated here. I don't think that that's actually the case, not with the way that Capra buttresses his arguments with quotes and drawings taken right from Leonardo's notebooks, but it is still a slight weak point.But overall the book is fantastic, written intelligently but without falling into the impressed-with-their-own-intellect style that so many non fiction books do, and without dumbing the writing down. Almost every page had something fascinating fact or inspiring concept.And it must be mentioned that the book iteslf is gorgeous. The cream paper and brown text isn't a major shift from standard black and white, but it makes the book feel extremely special, and well thought out. Great read, highly reccomended

  • Denise
    2019-01-18 23:35

    Leonardo helps me feel normal. Not that my art, science, or engineering understanding is anywhere comparable. I relate to his journey in exploring practical aspects for a painting (such as light or physical motion) taking a diversion into optics, physiology, barn construction etc. and going far beyond useful information for a portrait painting. Also, I envy that he could take three years to complete a masterpiece, The Last Super.This book is about a man who could have easily been the father of modern science, if only he'd published and dispersed his observations during his lifetime. Fortunately he shared his art, toppling old ideas and radically changing the perception of how art should be done. A deep thinker with a phenomenal memory, great skill, and ample talent. Also, deeply private, making books about him reliant on tales told about him rather than by him. Mr. Capra does a good job of pulling together what is known without straying too far into conjecture.Easy to read, nicely handled topic.

  • Ezzat
    2018-12-25 19:30

    Leonardo yang kita banyak tahu sebagai pembuat lukisan Monalisa menyimpan sisi-sisi jenius lain dari dirinya. Tidak hanya sebagai seniman, di buku ini juga digambarkan Leonardo sebagai seorang saintis, kisah hidupnya dari awal hingga akhir hayatnya. Pemikiran-pemikirannya yang jauh melampaui zamannya. Ketertarikannya dalam bidang matematika, geometri, optik, anatomi tubuh manusia, gejala-gejala geologi. Disertai dengan gambar-gambar dari hasil eksplorasi ilmiahnya yang sangat mendetail.Cara Leonardo bereksplorasi dalam pengamatan-pengamatan ilmiah yang dilakukan. Seperti kata-kata Leonardo dalam buku ini, "Mereka tidak mengetahui bahawa observasiku lebih berharga karena diturunkan langsung dari pengalaman, ketimbang dari kata-kata orang lain, dan alam adalah kekasih bagi mereka yang telah menulis dengan baik."Seperti yang Capra tulis di akhir bukunya bahwa sulit ditemukan lagi seorang saintis dan seniman jenius yang akan lahir dalam satu tubuh manusia.

  • Steve
    2018-12-22 20:31

    While da Vinci's artistic and scientific achievements are well known, the personal aspects of the man have been shrouded in mystery for centuries. Few writer's who knew about him from first or second hand sources have given a depiction of the person Leonardo da Vinci - noteably Vasari, a 16th century biographer of painters of the Renaissance period, whose decription of Leonardo portrays him as eccentric, private, strong & beautiful in his youth, and perhaps gay. Little else is known outside of the writings of these early biographers about da Vinci's youth or his personal side - yet there is less doubt as to his persona in his older years.Fritjof Capra's biography enlightens of Leonardo da Vinci's diversified talents and re-emphasizes why the classical genius remains so well regarded through the centuries.

  • Martin
    2019-01-01 19:41

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Contrary to the opinions expressed by my fellow critics. I found the authors passion for Leonardo and for Leonardo’s science to be riveting. I have not studied Leonardo directly, and so appreciated the inclusion of such biographical detail. I realise that there are literally thousands of books written on Leonardo, from diverse perspectives. Though I was pleased with the mix of science discussed by the author as it related to Leonardo’s life, his art and his death. I found exactly what I was looking for in this book.Having said that, I can see how those more advanced in their understanding of art, or of Renaissance science / history might have found it to be somewhat cursory, though as a newcomer to this subject, I think that this book should be heralded as a must read for those embarking on self directed study of the Master and his work.

  • Arys Aditya
    2019-01-12 18:47

    Satu dari sedikit saja buku biografi yang saya suka dan baca berkali-kali. Pengejaran dan obsesi Da Vinci kepada sains seirama dengan jalur kesenian yang ia tempuh. Tidak seperti biografi medioker yang ditulis dengan glorifikasi asal-asalan, Capra bisa mendudukkan konteks dimana Da Vinci bertumbuh-kembang dan mencapai masa keemasan, karya-karya penting, dan kemunduran Da Vinci.Sebagai tambahan, ada beberapa bagian yang secara detail menggambarkan kerja-kerja Da Vinci dalam melukis. Selain tentu saja 'Monalisa' dan 'The Last Supper', saya sendiri paling suka ketika Capra menjelaskan bagaimana Da Vinci berhasil menelurkan lukisan 'The Battle of Anghiari'. Sebuah lukisan yang (seperti dikatakan Capra sendiri), "Adalah kritik tajam seni terhadap kedunguan perang."

  • Bruce
    2018-12-31 19:47

    Rated three stars for "Ok if you have nothing better to do with your time." I won't be finishing this one, and I'm breaking my rule about giving such books 1 star is what it says it is. Biographical stuff about Leonardo and a good effort at fitting him into the role of "first true scientist."It's just that I found, while reading this, that I wasn't really interested in these topics. My bad, not the books.A light read, beautiful production-- ink, paper, font, just lovely. I would have liked to have seen far more pictures though... Will be of great interest to science historical biography fanciers. Nothing outside the paradigm of our current status quo, though, so not up my alley at all really.

  • Terry
    2019-01-16 20:30

    Leonardo was the master of the Renaissance, excelling in engineering, mathematics, chemistry, anatomy, optics, aeronautics, as well as painting. He rose from humble beginnings by gaining political favor for his design of weaponry and his remaining journals trace his life and thoughts. He began with Aristotle and in many ways developed the scientific method. Capra describes his thinking as very systemic and this is where he used his talents of art to describe his curiosities. Capra's unequivocal praise could have been spiced with some objectivity. I'd now like to learn more of Galileo and Pythagorus, of course.

  • Art Meyer
    2019-01-04 17:32

    The Science of Leonardo is the most inspirational and interesting book that I have read in the last ten years. Capra takes the reader for an intellectually stimulating journey through the life of Leonardo. Along this path one continually encounters an intensely curious thinker who continually strives to discover the truth. Capra delves into the life of an artist, scientist, designer, architect, botanist, anatomist, engineer, and musician who won't be held back by the restraints of classical writers such as Plato and Aristotle. Along the way, we learn how Leonardo continually revises and integrates these separate but interconnected streams of thought. I highly recommend this book!

  • Amber
    2019-01-01 20:48

    Fascinating read! I knew DaVinci was a renaissance man, yet I had no idea of the scope of his works. Capra did an excellent job of showing DaVinci's studies as well as DaVinci's thoughts and beliefs. Some of the topics DaVinci studied are of an advanced nature and are a little complex for the non-mathematician. However, for those who are mathematically inclined, Capra provides an appendix going further into various mathematical concepts. A great read for any who are interested in the ancestors of the modern scientist. As Capra himself contemplated, how different would our world be today if DaVinci 19s works were published.

  • Alea
    2018-12-27 21:38

    I decided to read this book because Leonardo's drawing the Vitruvian Man has been mentioned in my Feldenkrais training many times. I decided I wanted to know if there were more correlations between Leonardo's work and the teachings in my training. If I didnt know any better I would say that Moshe Feldenkrais read this book as he was developing his method. Not the case as Moshe passed before this was published, which may make it even more incredible. The two shared a similar outlook on knowlege, advocating that everything we know we know from experience. I very much enjoyed this read.

  • Athena
    2018-12-28 19:42

    After Leonardo da Vinci's death his notebooks were gradually sold off, some were taken apart, and many were destroyed or lost, and so for several centuries da Vinci's explorations of the world were lost. Capra considers da Vinci's wide-ranging curiosity and wonders how our world view might be different had the notebooks been widely available. Capra's close look at the notebooks gives us a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of a great thinker's mind. A fascinating read!

  • Heather Larcombe
    2018-12-29 21:33

    It would be so lovely to be a scholar. In this particular case, to actually go look at the source folios and decipher the writing (hmm, have to learn Italian first...) and look at the pictures in person. But until I'm independently wealthy and have unlimited time, reading other's scholarship will have to do. A lovely and well-noted book promoting DaVinci's extensive investigations into multiple branches of science.

  • Bridget
    2019-01-18 18:38

    What can I say, Leonardo da Vinci was wicked smart. Most people have seen some of his anatomical sketches he has done but he was so much more than even an artist and anatomist. Amazing book. Well written so it was actually a quick read. One interesting bit of minutia to note: All of his notebooks are in various museums except for one. Bill Gates forked over 31 million dollars for da Vinci's Codex Hammer- one years worth of his scientific observations. Wow.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-16 23:49

    I probably should have toughed this out, as it had a lot of interesting things in it. I read half but kept not looking forward to my reading time because I knew Leonardo was waiting for me. The sections about his life and his art were good but the science section was less interesting to me. If this book sounds interesting to you, don't let my wussiness dissuade you...I just wanted to get to my next book more than finish this one.

  • Vishang Shah
    2019-01-04 00:47

    Nice portrait of the scientist that Leonardo was. Book is divided in 2 parts, Life & Works. Life part outlines his early to end of career & himself as a human being. Works part delves deeper into each commission he got & achievements & inventions he did in order to fulfill them. He is indeed one of the most genius but under-celebrated figure of humankind. Well worth reading.

  • Larry
    2019-01-07 21:54

    The idea of this book is better than its execution. The biography section is short, and better done elsewhere. The science section shows what a genius Da Vinci really was, but at times the author's love of Da Vinci seems to overwhelm any objectivity. Da Vinci was amazing and you don't need to make up excuses for mistakes he made.

  • Diane Kennicker
    2018-12-25 19:39

    This book was very interesting. I learned more about Leonardo and how he did so many things prior to the 'Greats' who came after him hundreds of years later. He was a man way before his time.I would recommend this book. It flows well. One does not need to be a scientist or artist to appreciate this book.

  • Donald
    2018-12-31 22:54

    I learned how extensive Leonardo examined nature through art and scientific investigation. I also gained more of an understanding and appreciation of him as a true independent thinker and how difficult this was during the rein of "church doctrine".