500 Years Later: A Journey Into the Life and Mind of Leonardo da Vinci

May 2, 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. Today, his legacy endures, inspiring scholars and experts around the world in medicine, science, music and art. Among the many things I discovered: he taught himself Latin; had a great singing voice; and cared more about the creative process than the finished product. An exquisite mind.

Excerpt from my story for National Geographic:

“An inherently curious note-taker and truth-seeker, Leonardo pursued knowledge voraciously. His to-do lists included jottings to “construct glasses to see the moon larger” and “describe the cause of laughter” as he sought answers to a cascade of questions: What’s the distance from the eyebrow to the junction of the lip and the chin? Why are stars visible by night and not by day? How do the branches of a tree compare with the thickness of its trunk? What separates water from air? Where is the soul? What are sneezing, yawning, hunger, thirst, and lust? Although his paintings are far better known, Leonardo’s wealth of manuscripts and drawings lay bare the inner workings of his genius.”

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