Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leonardo da Vinci and the Large Hadron Collider

The principle of specialisation seems to dominate modern society, both economically and academically. Whilst we look upon the 'universal men' of the Renaissance with admiration, there seems to be little desire to emulate them.

Peter Burke has identified 15 such universal men, each of whom possessed a competency in three or more areas beyond that of a dilettante: Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), architect, engineer, sculptor, painter; Antonio Filarete (1400-1465), architect, sculptor, writer; Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), architect, writer, medallist, painter; Lorenzo Vecchietta (1405/1412-1480), architect, painter, sculptor, engineer; Bernard Zenale (1436-1526), architect, painter, writer; Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1506), architect, engineer, sculptor, painter; Donato Bramante (1444-1514), architect, engineer, painter, poet; Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), architect, painter, sculptor, scientist; Giovanni Giocondo (1457-1525), architect, engineer, humanist; Silvestro Aquilano (<1471-1504), architect, sculptor, painter; Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554), architect, painter, writer; Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), architect, sculptor, painter, writer; Guido Mazzoni (<1477-1518), sculptor, painter, theatrical producer; Piero Ligorio (1500-1583), architect, engineer, sculptor, painter; and Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), architect, sculptor, painter, writer, (Culture and Society in Renaissance Italy).

Whilst there are no modern counterparts to these individuals, CERN engineer Sergio Cittolin has made a series of drawings of the Compact Muon Solenoid at the Large Hadron Collider, in the style of Leonardo da Vinci. He's even written his notes in mirror-image cursive text, just like Leonardo!



Anonymous said...

Cough cough, what about mixing physics and motorsports?

Gordon McCabe said...

Does that make me a 'universal man'? I suspect I'm closer towards the dilettante end of the spectrum.

Doug Hudson said...

What about Rolf Harris?

Pop genius, artist, TV presenter, human beatbox, carer of sick animals....

Gordon McCabe said...

Ooh, that creates a dangerous precedent Doug. What about Tony Robinson: actor, TV presenter, irritating twat?

There's also Jonathan Miller: neurologist, theatre director, author, TV presenter, humorist and sculptor.

Someone should compile a list, I feel.