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Decoding da Vinci (working title) 1x60

How was Leonardo da Vinci able to think so far “outside the box” that he envisaged developments in engineering, astronomy, and anatomy that were only realized centuries later? The list of Leonardo’s “firsts” is astonishing: he asserted that “the sun does not move” more than a generation before Copernicus; he reasoned that fatty deposits in narrowed arteries were caused by an unhealthy diet; he drew the first designs for a parachute, armored car, machine gun, diving suit, helicopter, and a flying machine that anticipates the modern hang glider, not to mention history’s first humanoid robot. Leonardo’s inventions and insights have come down to us through his notebooks, each page packed with a profusion of ingenious ideas and breathtaking drawings but revealing little about his personal life or character. As a result, the man behind the Mona Lisa and a host of futuristic inventions remains a shadowy figure. Now, NOVA joins Walter Isaacson, author of the acclaimed recent biography, on a journey to Italy to explore the impact of Leonardo’s art on his science and his science on his art. The program is a compelling portrait of the original “Renaissance man.”