|Extract from Leonardo's notebook known as the Codex Arundel.
The British Library. British Library, Arundel MS 263.
Leonardo devoted most of his life to understanding nature. He used
experimentation and careful observation to master drawing and painting
and his aesthetic eye and creative mind to make scientific observations.
His notebooks combine detailed observation with notes of experiments.
Even if he did not actually undertake the experiments, he described
what could be tried. Many of his insights foreshadowed scientific
research by many centuries. For example:
- Leonardo repudiated perpetual motion, understood
the principle of relative motion, and foreshadowed Newton's Third
Law by two centuries:
'For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction'.
rejected the notion that the Biblical flood was responsible
for depositing fossils many miles from their origin and deduced
of very long spans of geological time.
- By dissecting humans
and animals, Leonardo made many anatomical and some physiological
- He investigated optics and perception with
subtle experiments, explaining why the sky is blue, arguing that
finite velocity and
travels in straight lines, and deducing the existence of
a surface within the eye that receives light from a wide
field of view.
- Leonardo formulated the law of the flow
of currents: 'All motion of water of uniform breadth and surface
place than at another according as the water is shallower
there than at