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Leonardo da Vinci the precursor of Publish AND Perish ---- not Publish OR Perish -- the present model is dead!

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Dear Imechanica friends

  I recently pointed to a very interesting paper by Fabio Casati and collegues from Trento University in Italy.

They say PUBLISH AND PERISH: WHY THE CURRENT PUBLICATIONAND REVIEW MODEL IS
KILLING RESEARCH AND WASTING YOUR MONEY

as opposed to the current mania to PUBLISH and killing yourself with writing papers.

http://eprints.biblio.unitn.it/archive/00001086/01/066.pdf

read the LiquidPub Project: Scientific Publications meet the Web, a project from University of Trento post to know more.

I was however reading recently Leonardo da Vinci.

This man, probably the founder of Scientific method, well before Galileo who is considered to be its inventor, never published almost anything!  He did not have time,nor interest! His great talents were recognized when he was already 14, when his father (a rich notary in Vinci, who was working for the richest families in Florence, like the Medici) brougth some of his drawing to Andrea the Verrocchio, then a famous artist who was very good at educating a number of artists and where Leonardo flourished.

I have been reading a few books about Leonardo recently, and it is incredible how far you can go if you DO NOT PUBLISH!  And waste time.  The only result you obtain is to make richer the publishers who are too clever to publish, and instead they exploit the scientists.

See http://www.fritjofcapra.net/leonardo.html

New Book: The Science of Leonardo

From the
Preface:
Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps the greatest master painter and genius of
the Renaissance, has been the subject of hundreds of scholarly and popular
books. His enormous oeuvre, said to include over 100,000 drawings and
over 6,000 pages of notes, and the extreme diversity of his interests have
attracted countless scholars from a wide range of academic and artistic
disciplines.

However, there are
surprisingly few books about Leonardo's science, even though he left voluminous
notebooks full of detailed descriptions of his experiments, magnificent
drawings, and long analyses of his findings. Moreover, most authors who have
discussed Leonardo's scientific work have looked at it through Newtonian lenses,
and I believe this has often prevented them from understanding its essential
nature.

Leonardo intended
to eventually present the results of his scientific research as a coherent,
integrated body of knowledge. He never managed to do so, because throughout his
life he always felt more compelled to expand, refine, and document his
investigations than to organize them in a systematic way. Hence, in the
centuries since his death, scholars studying his celebrated Notebooks have
tended to see them as disorganized and chaotic.  In Leonardo's mind, however,
his science was not disorganized at all. It gave him a coherent, unifying
picture of natural phenomena — but a picture that is radically different from
that of Galileo, Descartes, and Newton.

Only now, five
centuries later, as the limits of Newtonian science are becoming all too
apparent and the mechanistic Cartesian worldview is giving way to a holistic and
ecological view not unlike Leonardo's, can we begin to appreciate the full power
of his science and its great relevance for our modern era.

My intent is to
present a coherent account of the scientific method and achievements of the
great genius of the Renaissance and evaluate them from the perspective of
today’s scientific thought. Studying Leonardo from this perspective will not
only allow us to recognize his science as a solid body of knowledge. It will
also show why it cannot be understood without his art, nor his art without the
science.

As a scientist and
author, I depart in this book from my usual work. At the same time, however, it
has been a deeply satisfying book to write, as I have been fascinated by
Leonardo da Vinci's scientific work for over three decades. When I began my
career as a writer in the early 1970s, my plan was to write a popular book about
particle physics. I completed the first three chapters of the manuscript, then
abandoned the project to write The Tao of Physics, into which I
incorporated most of the material from the early manuscript. My original
manuscript began with a brief history of modern Western science, and opened with
the beautiful statement by Leonardo da Vinci on the empirical basis of science
that now serves as the epigraph for this book.

Since paying
tribute to Leonardo as the first modern scientist (long before Galileo, Bacon,
and Newton) in my early manuscript, I have retained my fascination with his
scientific work, and over the years have referred to it several times in my
writings, without, however, studying his extensive Notebooks in any detail. The
impetus to do so came in the mid-1990s, when I saw a large exhibition of
Leonardo's drawings at The Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace in  London.

As I gazed at those
magnificent drawings juxtaposing, often on the same page, architecture and human
anatomy, turbulent water and turbulent air, water vortices, the flow of human
hair and the growth patterns of grasses, I realized that Leonardo's systematic
studies of living and nonliving forms amounted to a science of quality and
wholeness that was fundamentally different from the mechanistic science of
Galileo and Newton. At the core of his investigations, it seemed to me, was a
persistent exploration of patterns, interconnecting phenomena from a vast range
of fields.

Having explored the
modern counterparts to Leonardo's approach, known today as complexity theory and
systems theory, in several of my previous books, I felt that it was time for me
to study Leonardo's Notebooks in earnest and to evaluate his scientific thought
from the perspective of the most recent advances in modern science.

Although Leonardo
left us, in the words of the eminent Renaissance scholar Kenneth Clark, "one of
the most voluminous and complete records of a mind at work that has come down to
us," his Notebooks give us hardly any clues to the author's character and
personality. Leonardo, in his paintings as well as in his life, seemed to
cultivate a certain sense of mystery. Because of this aura of mystery and
because of his extraordinary talents, Leonardo da Vinci became a legendary
figure even during his lifetime, and his legend has been amplified in different
variations in the centuries after his death.

Throughout history,
he personified the age of the Renaissance, yet each era "reinvented" Leonardo
according to the zeitgeist of the time. To quote Kenneth Clark again,
"Leonardo is the Hamlet of art history whom each of us must recreate for
himself." It is therefore  inevitable that in the following pages I have also
had to reinvent Leonardo. The image that emerges from my account is, in
contemporary scientific terms, one of Leonardo as a systemic thinker, ecologist,
and complexity theorist; a scientist and artist with a deep reverence for all
life, and as a man with a strong desire to work for the benefit of
humanity.

Click
here for the book tour schedule.

 

 

michele ciavarella
www.micheleciavarella.it

Comments

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Check my updates on


My letter of resignation from the board of International Journal of Solids and Structures
http://imechanica.org/node/3210

I ADD SOME CURIOUS STATISTICS ABOUT IJSS AND IntJFAT BOARDS, SUGGESTING
THE EDITORS SURPRISINGLY NOT EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RANKING, AND THE
REAL SUPERSTARS ARE BELYTSCHO AND SUO FOR IJSS, AND RITCHIE AND
MURAKAMI FOR IntJFat.  WHAT IS THE MEANING OF "PEERS" THEN WITH SUCH A
DILUTED AND DIVERSE RANGE OF PEOPLE IN THE BOARD?

michele ciavarella

 

www.micheleciavarella.it

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