The Science of Leonardo
Capra, author of the classic The Tao of Physics, makes the case in this fascinating intellectual biography for the great artist Leonardo being the unsung father of modern science. Drawing on approximately 6,000 pages and 100,000 drawings surviving from Leonardo’s scattered notebooks, Capra explores the groundbreaking research of this quintessential Renaissance man. Illegitimate, born in a Tuscan village in 1452, Leonardo did not receive a classical education, a fact that, Capra notes, later freed him from the intellectual conventions of his time and allowed him to develop his own holistic, empirical approach to science. Apprenticed with Verrocchio in Florence around the age of 15, Leonardo became an independent artist when he was 25, but his intellectual appetites demanded more. He taught himself Latin and began the famous notebooks, a record of his artistic and scientific explorations. The recurring patterns he saw in nature led him to create what Capra calls a science of wholeness, of movement and transformation. Capra expresses his own intellectual kinship with Leonardo’s multidisciplinary perspective on science, one that recognizes the fundamental interdependence of all natural phenomena—a view he sees as particularly relevant today.