Page from a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, showing excavation of a canal.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer and inventor of the Renaisance period. He had a wide knowledge and understanding far beyond his times of most of the sciences, including biology, anatomy, physiology, hydrodynamics, mechanics and aeronautics. His notebooks, written in mirror writing, contain original remarks on all of these areas.