The Renaissance, meaning "rebirth" in French was a key period in European history that followed the Middle Ages, forming a bridge to modern history. There were many advancements in this period of history, with most people associating this time with great progress in terms of art and sculpture. What is less known are the great advancements in this period in the areas of science and specifically, medicine and astronomy.
Did the man who painted the Mona Lisa also contribute to medical science?
Leonardo da Vinci is often thought of as the famous artist who painted the Mona Lisa, but he did even more than that! Lesser-known interests of his lies in human anatomy, nature, and mechanics just to name a few. Leonardo da Vinci dissected the heart of a man who died at 100 years old.
Da Vinci produced the first known description of coronary artery disease. Additionally, he sketched diagrams of the skull, skeleton, muscles, vital organs. His theories on their functions filled his notebooks. However, the heart enticed his curiosity the most. In his artistic depictions of the heart, he combines his knowledge of science and engineering to understand how the heart functions. Leonardo da Vinci's understanding of human anatomy assisted him in designing robots too.
Leonardo's Robot, one of the most well-known robots found in his notebook was designed as a suit of armour that could wave its arms, sit, and stand. The prototype for Leonardo's Robot was made in 2002. This prototype was successful and showed that da Vinci had a comprehensive understanding about how joints within the body work! Leonardo's Robot and his reliable sketches of human anatomy led scientists today to create a surgical robot named after da Vinci. It is used today to perform many surgeries such as heart surgery, prostate surgery, hysterectomies, and joint replacements. This is beneficial to us because it increases the precision of a surgeon, minimises incision size, lessens the risk of transfusion, shortens recovery time, and creates a more suitable environment for doctors through reducing fatigue.
Does the Sun and Earth swap places?
The Renaissance period was a time where ground-breaking discoveries in astronomy were made. Before the Renaissance, people relied on discoveries carried out by Ancient Greek scientists such as Ptolemy and Aristotle. They had produced theories that the Sun and planets orbited the Earth. This was believed to be a fact for almost 2000 years. It changed when Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish mathematician and astronomer made one of the most significant discoveries of the Renaissance. He published his theory outlining a heliocentric solar system in 1530. This places the sun in the centre of the solar system rather than the Earth which was previously believed to be correct. His discovery was a breakthrough in scientific history. Another key Renaissance scientist and one of the greatest scientists in history was Galileo Galilei who discovered new celestial bodies, improved the telescope, and found evidence that supports a heliocentric solar system.
Overall, the Renaissance was a period of developments in many areas including medicine and other branches of science, visual arts, and music. Significant individuals who impacted scientific, and medical developments include Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, and Nicolaus Copernicus. This assisted in setting the foundations for the development of modern science, including medicine.