Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How Accurate Were Leonardo Da Vinci's Anatomy Drawings?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the ahead-of-the-curve dept.

Science 108

antdude writes "BBC News answers how accurate were Leonardo da Vinci's anatomy drawings — 'During his lifetime, Leonardo made thousands of pages of notes and drawings on the human body. He wanted to understand how the body was composed and how it worked. But at his death in 1519, his great treatise on the body was incomplete and his scientific papers were unpublished. Based on what survives, clinical anatomists believe that Leonardo's anatomical work was hundreds of years ahead of its time, and in some respects it can still help us understand the body today. So how do these drawings, sketched more than 500 years ago, compare to what digital imaging technology can tell us today?'"

cancel ×

108 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Impressive. (-1, Offtopic)

feastoola (2632987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909789)

You're in a desert, walking along in the sand - it doesn't make any difference what desert, it's completely hypothetical. Maybe you're fed up, maybe you want to be by yourself, who knows? - You look down and you see a tortoise, it's crawling towards you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help. But you're not helping. This is what it's like when you don't use gamemaker.

Gamemaker offers the best programmer satisfaction! Don't hesitate! Return to gamemakerdom today! I'm glad I did.

Re:Impressive. (-1, Offtopic)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909827)

I agree 100%. Gamemaker's great.

Nothing is better than Gamemaker. Gamemaker is the absolute greatest. What's greater than Gamemaker? Nothing! Nothing is better than Gamemaker! There will never be anything greater than Gamemaker!

So why not return to Gamemakerdom!? What kind of loser are you!?

Re:Impressive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910783)

What about Microsoft Windows 8? It's so much better than that Google garbage.

Re:Impressive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909937)

Why the hell would we want to use something called Gamemaker to make non-games?

And the more spam I keep seeing about Gamemaker, the less likely I want to learn more about it. Sounds like the X-10 of languages.

Re:Impressive. (-1, Troll)

feastoolaness (2633055) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909961)

Gamemaker is the most expressive and most powerful
programming language ever. To disregard these strengths
is to disregard programming entirely. How can one who
disregards programming be a programmer? The answer is
simply that they can't.

Return to gamemakerdom, my friend.
It is the only way for you to truly understand.

Re:Impressive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910353)

yea maybe if a am a 12 year old looser too stupid to use a real programming language

Re:Impressive. (1, Offtopic)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910423)

Gamemaker is the most expressive and most powerful
programming language ever. To disregard these strengths
is to disregard programming entirely. How can one who
disregards programming be a programmer? The answer is

BURMA SHAVE

Re:Impressive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910801)

But there's no way any development system can compete with Microsoft Visual Studio. Microsoft Visual Studio wins the world's best IDE, hands down.

Re:Impressive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910229)

Quit feeding the trolls.

Re:Impressive. (3, Insightful)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911231)

Report Gamemaker to Google [google.com] . Maybe if they are removed from all search results they will run out of money to carry on this annoying spam campaign.

Re:Impressive. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915103)

This is assuming it's actually being run by them, and not by someone who for some reason wants to kill them off via this exact reaction. (disclaimer: I know nothing about this "gamemaker", so I could be horribly wrong).

Re:Impressive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39911205)

I think I'll notify Google of your tactics. Hopefully they will delete gamemaker from their database.

OMG! 500 years ago??? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909817)

This Leonardo must be a genius!

Doh!

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909855)

OR...he was an alien.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909881)

Or he just cut up a lot of dead bodies to get the dimensions right. The only difference now is that we can look inside someone without them having to be dead first.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909945)

Being dead has never been a prerequisite for that, mind you.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915125)

Vivisection is such an interesting word, isn't it?

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (5, Informative)

zaphod777 (1755922) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911997)

Actually due to religious beliefs at the time if he was caught dissecting corpses he would have been imprisoned and most likely executed. So his research was done at much peril.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39913009)

I imagine if a doctor went around digging up bodies without permission and dissecting them, he would be imprisioned even today.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914933)

Actually due to religious beliefs at the time if he was caught dissecting corpses he would have been imprisoned and most likely executed. So his research was done at much peril.

Citation Needed. While true there was much influence of the church in his time, I find the claims to be extraordinary.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (4, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912269)

Clearly you've not done much dissection. Besides being perhaps the greatest artist of his age, virtually invented from whole cloth 2 and 3 point point perspective, hyper-realistic painting, chiaroscuro, anatomically/proportionally correct artwork (look up the "Grotesques"), he was probably one of the greatest scientific minds of all time. His vision, perception was unrivaled. He sketched water flowing over rocks and captured eddies and micro-currents that we can see today only in super high speed stop motion photography. He broke down the relationships between math and the universe. He observed that art was science and that science was art and that everything was mathematics. His inventions are brilliant even by today's standard. He invented the glider, the helicopter, the tank, the submarine, and a thousand other things we'll never know about.

His dissection and further record of human anatomy was inspired because he saw the engineering of the human body, and appreciated the brilliance of its design. He was able to discern function from form and so rather than simply capturing an amorphous blob of body matter (what you or I might see), was able to distinguish critical structure and functional anatomy and record it in such a way that the information imparted rivals techniques and illustrations based on technology 500 years later. More than a genius, he transcended his own time by centuries, and points to a human potential that is at once shocking and exciting.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39912807)

So, I guess you like him.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39913115)

I think ultimately I agree with you. But I was wondering about this question today, having seen it on Slashdot.

How is it the da Vinci was able to get over the "gross factor"?

Most of us living in modern times would, given the chance, not want to cut up corpses. This must serve as a sort of deterrent to the activity of studying anatomy at all. Maybe you can say that for centuries we didn't understand anatomy because centuries worth of would-be da Vincis were too grossed out to cut open these people.

And yet da Vinci seems to have managed it. What does that say about him as a person? I'm not sure it's all good. I'm thankful that today we can look inside of a person without them being dead.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (4, Insightful)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39913675)

My absolutely uneducated guess is that people were more used to disgusting smells and sights in those days. People would slaughter, skin and butcher their own animals. Meat was stored for a long time. People shat everywhere. People didn't know how diseases were transmitted.

So I think it wasn't as gross to him as it is to us.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915223)

Hell, there might have been a tanner down the street. I'm sure he wouldn't have known if there was shit on his nose, what with that overpowering odor prevailing.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (5, Insightful)

hex socket (1289574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39913215)

Or he just cut up a lot of dead bodies to get the dimensions right.

It's not as easy as you think. Think of spaghetti code made flesh: Spaghetti nerves, spaghetti arteries, veins everywhere... And then there are the variations. No two bodies are wired exactly the same, especially after they've been cut open. Even with modern references and anatomy books, it takes a lot of studying to make sense of a cadaver.

The summary exaggerates a bit by implying we can still learn anatomy from Leonardo's sketches. Sure, they're prettier than the sketches adorning the walls of my dorm room (I'm a medical student) but they're nowhere near as accurate as, say, Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy. Leonardo had a lot of systems wrong, especially where female anatomy was concerned. His work was amazing for its time, but we've done much better since then.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914817)

His work was amazing for its time, but we've done much better since then.

As they say in the article, his work was 300 years ahead of its time. However, its time was 500 years ago, so we've advanced well beyond it.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (4, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909973)

Alien? I think he was a time-traveler unable to fix his machine and then just made the best of it.

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (3, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910203)

Robert A Heinlen - "The Door Into Summer", the character was a grad student of the scientist who invented the time travel machine, named Leonard Vincent. Don't remember the scientist's name, don't remember the protagonist's name, just remember that the protagonist invented CAD - called it "Drafting Dan."

Re:OMG! 500 years ago??? (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910833)

Most reasonable answer yet for the great Leanardo. +10 for you.

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909819)

Nuff said.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909967)

What?

Betteridge's Law of Headlines is an adage that states, "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'".

For the record, the article concludes that Da Vinci's drawings were better in some respects than the 19th century editions of Gray's Anatomy.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910389)

I hate that fucking show, oh it was fine for a couple seasons but now were seeing dead boyfriends and supernatural experiences blah blah blah bullshit

Gray's Anatomy (5, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910673)

I hate that fucking show, oh it was fine for a couple seasons but now were seeing dead boyfriends and supernatural experiences blah blah blah bullshit

Agreed, but she was talking about the 19th century editions of Gray's Anatomy.
Which is a new spin-off, taking place in a Victorian steam punk universe : They use morphine for almost any operation, but only if they like the patient, sniff cocaine to get rid of the cold, and discuss female hysteria in the break room. Oh and the dresses, you should see the dresses.

Re:Gray's Anatomy (2)

Pyrus.mg (1152215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911915)

I'd watch that, if it was made by HBO and aired between Game of Thrones seasons. It would help if HBO would take my money with out forcing me to bend over and take it from my cable company first.

Re:Gray's Anatomy (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912291)

I hate to be the one to inform you friend, but the line of folks preparing to bend you over is long, and sadly more than a couple of them are wearing black suits and narrow ties. Look at the bright side... constipation is a thing of the past!

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (4, Funny)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909987)

Coming up:

Can any headline which ends in a question mark be answered by the word 'no'?

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910003)

Coming up:
Can any headline which ends in a question mark be answered by the word 'no'?

Yes.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910145)

The rule should be: "any headline which ends in a question mark and which starts with a verb (or a noun/pronoun perhaps also?) ..."

If the first word is "how", "why", "when", "where", "who"... the words "yes" and "no" make no sense as an answer. Oh, you knew that already?

When We Learned an AC Posted, Did Anyone Care? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910367)

Seems you can answer headlines starting with "when" with "no" as an answer that makes sense.

Re:When We Learned an AC Posted, Did Anyone Care? (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39913157)

Just to be pedantic, you're answering the "Did Anyone Care?" subclause with "no". Not the "when".

And why all the hate for A/C? Maybe they were moderating and didn't want to lose their mods?

Re:When We Learned an AC Posted, Did Anyone Care? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39913995)

Can you start a question with "when" that is answerable with a yes/no? Yes. there wasn't a question about clauses and subclauses, just a question about the first word in a headline.

Re:When We Learned an AC Posted, Did Anyone Care? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915423)

When you read this question, can you answer it saying no?

Re:When We Learned an AC Posted, Did Anyone Care? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915243)

And why all the hate for A/C? Maybe they were moderating and didn't want to lose their mods?

Then they shouldn't be posting. There's a reason you're prevented from posting and moderating in the same story.

Re:When We Learned an AC Posted, Did Anyone Care? (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917663)

OK, bad example. But dismissing an argument because the poster is AC is one of the finer examples of ad hominem...

Hundreds of years ahead in time? Asians (-1, Offtopic)

TheThinkingGuy (2633039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909837)

They have mastered the art of human body modification. Just look at how much the local ladyboys (shemales) can alter their body to make them look perfect. I know, I now live here and have a ladyboy girlfriend. In every part she is much better than women too - hard working, seriously cute, nice to be with and honest. On top of that she has a great body and actually takes good care of herself. Once you go ladyboy, you never go back.

Re:Hundreds of years ahead in time? Asians (-1, Offtopic)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909843)

You worthless piece of garbage! Human trash! That's all you'll ever be until you return to Gamemakerdom right this minuteness!

Wow! Everyone is laughing at your Gamemakerlessness!

Re:Hundreds of years ahead in time? Asians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909901)

It's people like you that make me miss Kristopeit, may he rest in peace.

Re:Hundreds of years ahead in time? Asians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909935)

"This Gamemakerlessness!" 'This Gamemakerlessness!' This Gamemakerlessness! This Gamemakerlessness! This Gamemakerlessness! This Gamemakerlessness is an eyesore!

Re:Hundreds of years ahead in time? Asians (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912623)

he's still around. this happened to him:

http://xkcd.com/810/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Hundreds of years ahead in time? Asians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39911031)

The ladyboys in my hood look nothing like the ones in the porn.

Heavyset, lots of stubble everywhere, and her penis always tastes like butt from being tucked.

If she doesn't start letting me be the big spoon I am going to break up with her.

WTF does Leonardo know about the human body? (1, Offtopic)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909839)

.. especially considering he's an anthropomorphised turtle.

Offtopic? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910689)

.. especially considering he's an anthropomorphised turtle.

Why would anyone mark this offtopic?

I remember watching a British mystery where a little kid told the visiting art expert that he liked Leonardo so much better than Michelangelo or Donatello.
The guy thought that the kid was a genius.

Re:WTF does Leonardo know about the human body? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914327)

This really needs +5 funny. Too bad I don't have mod points today.

Re:WTF does Leonardo know about the human body? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916809)

Everyone thinks of Donatello as the science nerd of the group, but Leonardo had his own hobbies. He kept them quiet, though, which is why we're only just discovering them. Maybe he didn't want to many questions about why he was so interested in the inner workings of the human body...

Except for one thing (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909847)

He always drew breasts and penises much larger than they could've reasonably been. Some believe this influences today's comic book artists.

Risque? (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909871)

Has anyone seen his uncensored drawings? The ones that show human pollination. They are the height of Renaissance kink! I now understand "bees", but where do the birds come in to play?

Re:Risque? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909919)

Kinky is using a feather, perverted is using the whole bird. Playing it safe is using a rubber chicken.

Re:Risque? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914343)

I thought erotic was using the feather, exotic was using the whole bird.

Re:Risque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910067)

The mere fact that you call making love "human pollination" tells me you're not ready.

Re:Risque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910121)

Making love is not reproduction, it is an emotional expression... or in some cases merely terminology to convince a partner that it is an emotional expression.

Reproduction is coitus, sexual intercourse, or the coldly clinical "hanky panky".

Footnote: Putting punctuation inside of a quotation that it was not part of is counter-intuitive, illogical, unethical, and in some cases dangerous. English standards are incorrect, so I substitute my own.

Re:Risque? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912027)

Footnote: Putting punctuation inside of a quotation that it was not part of is counter-intuitive, illogical, unethical, and in some cases dangerous. English standards are incorrect, so I substitute my own.

Thank you!

Re:Risque? (1, Redundant)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912753)

Actually English standards are correct. It's American standards that are incorrect. You're following the British English rules.

Re:Risque? (2)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910127)

It might have been funnier (or not) had you read the article. I'm sorry to have given you the impression that I am that ignorant. Here's the part of the article I was referring to: "Despite his desire to draw the body accurately, Leonardo was still wedded to certain ideas that he had inherited from the Middle Ages. He still, for instance, thought of the human reproductive system as in some way analogous to that of plants.[....]Below his embryo, Leonardo sketched the uterus opening like the petals of a flower."

Re:Risque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910207)

Oh, I didn't mean that as an insult. I was just jocularly paraphrasing an ongoing Arrested Development gag, where a character judges another character's readiness for sex by what they call it, or what he misinterprets as something they're calling it.

An engineer's approach (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909899)

The biggest insight I gleaned from the article was when the author described da Vinci's approach to anatomy as being that of an engineer's and an architect, and how that perspective allowed him to interpret the body structures he saw. Remember high school biology dissection labs? Or if you studied anatomy in college, remember the profound disconnect between seeing a perfectly laid-out diagram of an organism, versus actually going in and dissecting one in reality? You think that when you cut a creature open, that you'll see some version of those drawings just sitting there in front of you, labeled and color-coded and all structures clearly defined. Instead, I acutely remember my surprise when cutting open a rat, a frog, and an earthworm, that all I really saw at first was a jumbled pink/brown mess of innards. Things moved around, didn't have the shape I thought they would, and if someone hadn't already drawn the diagrams I would've been at a complete loss as to how to describe what I saw, let alone try to make an anatomically faithful reproduction of it.

That should give you a better understanding of just how amazing da Vinci's observational skills were.

Re:An engineer's approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910007)

That would be why we have so many bugs then.

Re:An engineer's approach (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910053)

Much of DaVinci's artwork (most of it) is of people. One of his incredible talents was the ability to draw people in a lifelike pose. That requires a keen eye, good eye / hand coordination and an understanding of anatomical function. I'm not so sure that it was his 'engineer's eye' more than his 'artist's eye'. Of course, we're making an artificial distinction here - art and engineering don't have to be separate and many humans appreciate the intersection of the two concepts.

But I see those drawings as an attempt by DaVinci to understand how the human body works so he can express his vision of human form / function in his art.

He still was a friggin genius, no matter what he was thinking or doing or smoking....

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910301)

Leonardo was able to intuit how blood flowed into and out of heart values, including the fluid rotation and corresponding fluid dynamics so many years ago. In fact, it took up until a year or two ago to duplicate the findings Leonardo asserts so long ago. To say he was ahead of his time is an extreme understatement.

Re:An engineer's approach (3, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910363)

Do engineering students still take drafting courses? Even if you never need to make an engineering drawing, I believe that learning how to make them gives one a better ability to observe the structure and relationship of things. Of course da VInci was better at drawing than most of us.

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910967)

Engineers didn't take drafting 20 years ago when I was in engineering school.

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911077)

I took drafting in engineering ~10 years ago (in Canada). It was half hand sketching and half CAD.

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39913485)

I took drawing (by hand) and modelling (by CAD). By hand was in first year, with a bit of 2D CAD thrown in for good measure. 3D CAD with the respective drawings for manufacture was 2nd to 4th. This was in South Africa (University of Cape Town) 2008 - 2011.

If a mechanical / mechatronics student doesn't know how to produce drawing of things that will be made, what is the point of learning how to design things? Are you going to find someone else to turn it into something to be manufactured? One of the most important components of drawing and CAD was learning what can and can't be manufactured. Knowing that you need drafts for casting and that you can't have concave corners on machined components, getting an intuitive sense for where bolts should be placed and what materials should be used are all things that need practical experience.

Re:An engineer's approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39913077)

Only ME's take it. Some EE's might take it as an elective, but maybe 5% at most. I've met a few that picked up CAD (EE's that is) in order to design wiring harnesses and simple enclosures. It's of no use otherwise.

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914043)

It's of no use otherwise.

Unless, of course, you start doing things outside of the narrow job description for an EE.

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914637)

It depends on what you mean by "drafting." If you are referring to the process of documenting a design on a 2-D drawing, then yes, most engineering students learn some amount of drafting. If you are asking whether they sit at a drafting table and create drawings on vellum with pencil, ink, ruler, etc., then the answer is more or less "no." That's not to say that they can't or don't - people will often begin with a quick hand sketch to organize and communicate their thoughts. But formal hand drafting techniques are not taught outside of introductory classes at community colleges.

In a sense, that's a darn shame, because when you are drawing it yourself, as with writing longhand, you have to make sure your thoughts are in order and you are going about it properly. On the other hand, technological innovation would slow to a crawl if we had to resort to hand-drawing everything. Before computers and word processors there was such a thing as a typing pool, where rows of secretaries spent their days cranking out copy using typewriters. Same too with drafting: companies would employ room upon room of drafters to support the work of a small team of engineers. Today I can crank out a quality 2-D drawing of a complicated part, with a half dozen views in orthogonal and arbitrary orientations, with appropriate dimensioning and tolerancing, ready for manufacture, in less than a day. I can make changes to that drawing in the space of minutes. If I were doing it by hand, hours of CAD become days of hand-drawn; days become weeks.

What I do wish is that (mechanical) engineering curricula would spend a little more effort on teaching students not only how to use CAD packages, but how to create proper drawings. It is not just a simple matter of throwing a few 2-D views in there and slapping dimensions on it - at least, not if you want someone else to be able to make the part in such a way that it works. I didn't learn much about that until my first job, not until after a few years' experience using CAD in college and machining most parts myself. When I had start communicating parts to a good machinist, I started to learn how important proper drafting is.

Re:An engineer's approach (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910427)

If all da Vinci had done was make accurate anatomical drawings, he'd be another Renaissance genius. What makes da Vinci possibly the most gifted human being in the history of our species is that while he was dissecting bodies to learn how they functioned, he was also designing hydraulic systems, helicopters, submarines, oh, and being one of the greatest painters in all of history. What has, since his time down to ours made him the most breathtaking of intellects was that his genius truly knew no bounds. Every topic fascinated him, and if he turned his mind to understanding it, he seemed almost effortlessly to do so.

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911277)

So he was an engineer with a few hobbies... some of which were expressive (the painting), some of which were an extension of engineering (the anatomy).

Re:An engineer's approach (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912445)

I must bow to your powers of understatement!!!

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39912509)

No, he was a scientist with everything as his hobby. This here is how engineers get to be the most fundy of nerds, you are so damn full of yourselves merely because you bothered to slug trough all the memorization. Guess what, doctors did too, but they still aren't quite as self-inflated (yes, you are THAT bad).

Re:An engineer's approach (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910473)

I acutely remember my surprise when cutting open a rat, a frog, and an earthworm, that all I really saw at first was a jumbled pink/brown mess of innards

Since you mentioned architecture briefly, this is surprisingly true there as well, especially if it's an older building and you don't have good documentation of the original plans [slashdot.org] . You cut into things and there's this jumble of wires in the wall going who knows where, some wood or concrete that may or may not be load bearing, a foundation built on top of another foundation that wasn't mentioned in any plans, some pipes that might've been from the previous era's sewer system, etc. Often true even if you do have the plans, especially when it comes to things like what the wiring looks like in the diagrams versus in the wall. And it's even worse in the subterranean space of cities outside of buildings; one of many reasons building a subway line is so expensive.

Re:An engineer's approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910769)

all I really saw at first was a jumbled pink/brown mess of innards

You're not supposed to start out on road kill. Just sayin.

Re:An engineer's approach (5, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912107)

That's right, one of the main lessons of biology is that real life doesn't look like the textbooks!

When I was learning to draw, I copied Da Vinci's drawings.

When I studied anatomy, I went back to Da Vinci's anatomical drawings. Comparing them to the modern anatomy books, and the human anatomy I've seen in museums, some of Da Vinci's work was done with uncanny accuracy, but some of his other drawings were just plain wrong. You can see where he was copying from real life, and where he was interpolating and guessing. When he drew from life, he was really good.

I don't fault him for that. We built on his work. Of course we went beyond him. We had 500 years to do it.

But every time I see one of those awesome 3D CT and MRI reconstructions that surgeons use before they operate, I wonder what Da Vinci would have thought if he could see them.

Re:An engineer's approach (3, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912209)

p.s. I was looking over those drawings again at http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/exhibitions/leonardo-da-vinci-anatomist [royalcollection.org.uk]

One of the fascinating things is the way he drew arteries and veins. He drew them straight. In real life, blood vessels are sinusoidal, like river meanders. (There are good fluid mechanical reasons for that.) So he must have been making quick notes.

I've done that myself, sitting in a lecture with the slides flashing by. I don't have time to make detailed drawings, so I just make quick sketches!

Re:An engineer's approach (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914513)

Reminds me of the first time I field dressed a deer. I had seen diagrams showing how to do it as well as a number of descriptions but actually doing it was much different. I can appreciate what biologists do when it comes to figuring out what the different parts do, apart from the digestive tract I couldn't tell what was what as most things just looked to be roundish blobs with some fat on them.

Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910035)

But shows how much of science was then under fingertips. He had both the expertise in dissecting bodies and, as one of best painters of all time, ability to capture it accurately on a piece of paper (or whatever he used). That plus a lot of passion and hard work could lead to these fascinating drawings, that are superb even by today's computer imaging standards.

Next time use header for question and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910123)

Body for the answer. Could have simplified it and say "he was pretty damn accurate". And save us from clicking a link lol

Skilled Artists Help Explain Reality (4, Interesting)

dynamator (964799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910133)

Yet another demonstration of how an illustration by a skilled artist can explain complex structures, mechanisms, and phenomena that cannot be readily photographed. Even computer rendering rely on modelers, animators,and lighters who can take messy, chaotic 3D scans and mocap data and clean up it , analyze and stylize it into a form that shows what's really vital. DaVinci's high accuracy renderings also serve as a prime example to refute David Hockney's outlandish claim that renaissance artists could not have achieve their results without the aid of optical projection tools.

Da Vinci, The (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910219)

All this AND he came up with a whole code that 500 years later would make a bestselling book and movie.

AND he helped Ezio Auditore fight off the Templars....

The guy was truly prodigious.

But i have not been to the Exhibition! (3, Interesting)

prolene (1016716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910275)

How can i answer? Although i am a Doctor and from what i see in the BBC video and the article, the drawings are agreeably hundred of years ahead of his time. In my humble opinion the work done by Leonardo Da Vinci seeded the understanding of Antomy.

Re:But i have not been to the Exhibition! (2)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910579)

Hundreds or thirty, Vesalius published a rather complete anatomy some time later.

Re:But i have not been to the Exhibition! (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911841)

In my humble opinion the work done by Leonardo Da Vinci seeded the understanding of Antomy.

I seem to remember that, back in Roman times, there was a doctor that would actually operate and do autopsies on recently killed gladiators and he had a pretty good understanding of anatomy and what we would consider modern medicine. Sadly I cannot remember his name, and of course, it being Roman, his research could easily have been lost or forgotten.

Re:But i have not been to the Exhibition! (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912491)

If that was all he did it would be mind numbing. He also seeded dozens of sciences that wouldn't be sciences for 400 years. Fluid dynamics, aerodynamics and aeronautics, architecture and civil engineering, optics, light study, cognition and behavior, mechanics, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and fascinating advances in mathematics. He was almost a one man scientific explosion, jump starting the renaissance. There is simply no way to overstate his brilliance.

If Only he'd applied himself... (4, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910325)

Seems like a lad with a gift like this would've amounted to something.

Re:If Only he'd applied himself... (3, Funny)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911905)

Seems like a lad with a gift like this would've amounted to something.

Not as lucky in love as he was at aquiring corpses, his broken heart left him feable-minded, and he fell in with a bad crowd: the smokers who hang out by the fence.

Andreas Vesalius (5, Informative)

EdwinFreed (1084059) | more than 2 years ago | (#39910739)

Irrespective of their quality, Da Vinci's drawings did little at the time to challenge the use of Galen's work (which was based on dissection of animals and therefore quite inaccurate). That particular bit of heavy lifting was done by Andreas Vesalius, who not only debunked Galen, but was also the first to publish a comprehensive work on anatomy (De Humani Corporis Fabrica). His work has repeatedly been found to be highly accurate, especially considering the conditions under which it was produced. An amusing side note is that it was so well regarded it was extensively pirated.

Vesalius made a lot of enemies by going against what amounted to the medical establishment of the time. After repeated challenges his critics actually resorted to the howler that the human body must have changed (evolved? ;) since Galen studied it.

Vesalius has always been a personal hero of mine - a guy who developed an interest in an an important area (anatomy), and pursued it, at great personal cost, with as much thoroughness and rigor as could be had at the time.

Re:Andreas Vesalius (4, Interesting)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911571)

And thank you for sharing this. I had not know about Vesalius before you posted this. Now I have learned something, which means this was a good day. Thank you again for the information.

And this, despite the frosty piss, the trolls and even the gamemaker spam, is why I still read /.

Re:Andreas Vesalius (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912545)

Amen. Ditto. Mille grazie.

Science imitates art (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39911095)

The drawings of da Vinci influenced our understanding of how the body is put together.

Re:Science imitates art (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39912757)

Yep, in fact we're still learning from the man.

Francis Wells, who is a heart surgeon at Papworth Hospital, has been fascinated by Leonardo’s anatomical drawings for the past 20 years and changed his surgical practice in the light of Leonardo’s observations on the structure of the mitral valve,” he says.

"What Leonardo was observing was how the elasticity of the heart and valves was important. It was common for surgeons to put rigid stents in the mitral valve when reconstructing it and Francis Wells has since been using a more subtle approach and trying to preserve some of that elastic nature and has had less failure in his stents as a consequence."
link [express.co.uk]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>