Leonardo da Vinci’s Mathematical Slip-Up

A geometric drawing by da Vinci contains an error, as revealed by Dutch mathematician and sculptor Rinus Roelofs

By Dirk Huylebrouk 

Image: Courtesy of Eos

Artist, inventor and philosopher Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was without a doubt a genius. Yet, there is some criticism. In his book 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance (William Morrow, 2008) British author and retired submarine commander Gavin Menzies claims that da Vinci swiped most of his ideas from the Chinese. Menzies’s theory was poorly received by the world of science. Besides, isn’t da Vinci’s brilliance beyond question? Definitely, but the Dutch mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs did find an error in one of the Renaissance man‘s drawings (at right).

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