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Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Mystery Photo
Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

Credit: (Courtesy David Reuteler)

What In the World Is It?

Scribblings from a bored student? Design for a wooden Space Shuttle? Well, the latter answer is not far from the truth. What you see here is a page from one of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbooks. It shows a design for a flying machine he imagined in about 1488.

We usually see da Vinci’s more famous works, such as the Mona Lisa. Yet Leonardo was a keen observer of nature and an astute scientist. He made painstaking observations and carried out research in fields ranging from architecture and civil engineering to astronomy to anatomy and zoology to geography and geology.

Over 4,000 pages of his handwritten manuscripts survive, including this one. If you find his writing difficult to decipher, it is. He not only wrote from right to left (mirror image), but he used peculiar spellings and abbreviations. And, like many students’ notebooks, da Vinci’s notes were not arranged in any logical order.


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