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Leonardo: Painter, Military Engineer, Inventor

Watch now on our Library’s YouTube channel>>

We apologize for the technical difficulties experienced during our first livestream attempt March 17th. The team is working diligently to perfect this experience of offering new virtual learning opportunities. 

Even though it has been 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci died, we have not forgotten his works of art, his studies of human anatomy, or his vision of future technology.  This talk will focus on Leonardo’s notes written in Milan when he was 56 years old.  His illustrated writings serve as a guide to appreciate his many contributions to art, science, and engineering.  Of particular interest is Leonardo’s fascination with the human eye, the camera obscura (pinhole camera), and the use of linear perspective. Of linear perspective Leonardo notes, “The art of perspective is of such a nature as to make what is flat appear in relief and what is in relief flat”.  His writing is clear and to the point.

Prof. Littman is a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.  He received a PhD in physics from MIT in 1977.  His research contributions are in the areas of optical physics, optical engineering, design of astronomical instruments, computer engineering, and STEM education. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, and, in 2015, he received a distinguished faculty award from Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in recognition of his teaching.  Prof. Littman teaches a large introductory course on the modern history of engineering as well as technical courses in the areas of mechatronics, feedback control, and motorcycle design.  This lecture is for a general audience.

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