Scientists analyzed Leonardo da Vinci’s notes and revealed that the Italian scientist had discovered Newton’s law of universal gravitation a century and a half ago.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have found an experiment description in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook showing that the medieval scientist understood the effects of gravity on falling objects, made the relationship between gravity and acceleration, and calculated the free fall acceleration with 97% accuracy.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Jug Experiment
In his notes, da Vinci describes an experiment in which a jug of water or granular material (such as sand) is moved in a straight line parallel to the ground. The contents of the jug spilled or spilled as it moved. The scientist noted that water or sand will not fall at a constant speed, but rather accelerate. He also showed that after falling from the container, the material stopped moving horizontally as it was no longer affected by the jug, but was accelerated downward by gravity.
Da Vinci noted that if the pitcher moves smoothly at a given speed, the falling material forms a vertical line and not a triangle; indicates that if it moves with a constant acceleration, a curved line is formed. If the jug moves with the acceleration imparted by gravity to the objects, the falling material forms an isosceles triangle.
He Was a Scientist Beyond Time
Leonardo tried to create a mathematical equation to describe this acceleration, but got stuck with it, according to the study’s authors. He calculated that the distance to the falling object was proportional to the power 2 of t rather than the square of the time (t). However, computer simulations showed that if the scientist carried out the experiments described, he could calculate the value of the free fall acceleration with an accuracy of 97%.
Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1452 to 1519, and according to the study’s authors, he was ahead of his time and lacked the tools to formulate a definitive law. However, he came as close as possible to discovering the laws of gravity using the methods at his disposal – geometry. After that, until 1604, Galileo Galilei hypothesized that the distance traveled by a falling body is proportional to the square of time, and in the middle of the 17th century, Isaac Newton expanded this theory and developed the law of universal gravitation.