On April 29th BBC Radio 4 launched 5-part radio series "The Five Faces of Leonardo", which produced by revered producer Sara Parker, explores Leonardo da Vinci's scientific, engineering, and wider STEM endeavours. In the first episode, Leonardo's Heart, surgeon Francis Wells exams Leonardo's anatomical drawings and discusses his research methods and discoveries, and why and how they remain relevant today. In the second episode, Leonardo's City, I take listeners on a journey through Milan past and present, and in the process share thoughts on Leonardo's contribution to city planning, construction, and the wider built environment. In the third, forth and fifth episodes, historian David Willey looks at Leonardo's military innovations, roboticist Mark Rosheim discusses Leonardo's automations, and artist Ralph Steadman shares his passion for Leonardo's flying machines.
Works that peers and I discuss during 'Leonardo's City' include the Codex Trivulzianus, Codex Atlanticus, and The Last Supper, amongst others. Our research travels having taken us to Castello Sforzesco, including Salle della Asse; Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, Biblioteca Ambrosiana; Santa Maria Delle Grazie; the Leonardo 3 exhibition; the locks of Naviglio Grande; and Leonardo's vineyard, and more, I extend my heartfelt thanks to all as gave of their time, expertise, and inspiration to the production team and I.
2019 marking the 500th year since Leonardo's passing, all the above cited exhibitions and venues, together with umpteen others across Italy, France, UK and beyond are celebrating his many and varied contributions to society. Many, such as Leonardo 3, draw on state-of-the-art scientific enquiry, and shed new, and at times unexpected light onto the man and his works. Must-sees include Leonardo's frescos in the Salle Delle Asse at Castello Sforzesco, which in restoration will, for the first time, be accessible to the general public from May, and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana's series of exhibitions exploring various aspects of the Codex Atlanticus. Search #Leonardo500 to find out more.
Listen to 'Leonardo's City' here and see a few photographs from our da Vinci travels below.
Melissa Sterry, PhD, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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