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This da Vinci Doodle Holds a Secret

popularmechanics.comWhen you doodle, you’re probably drawing something like a square that magically turns into a 3D cube or your boss with devil horns. When Leonardo da Vinci was doodling, he was figuring out some of the fundamental laws of physics.

In a new paper, Professor Ian M. Hutchings of the University of Cambridge argues that a sketch from da Vinci’s journals shows that the Renaissance-era polymath was already working out his own ideas about the concepts of friction years earlier than previously thought.

Hutchings argues that the sketches, which had previously been seen as inconsequential, were the first known place that da Vinci began to work out his theory of friction (or “tribology”). Da Vinci is known to have performed some of the first scientific work in figuring out friction, but when he began has remains a mystery.

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