Leonardo da Vinci and The BrainRenowned Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci had a tremendous range of interests beyond the magnificent paintings that made him a legend. He was also an inventor, an architect and a scientist committed to uncovering as much as possible about how the mind and body functioned. Leonardo’s curiosity was boundless. Unlike most of today’s students of science, Leonardo did not specialize, but pursued deeper understanding of an amazing breadth of biological phenomena. He was extremely interested in disease in general, and often turned his attention to the mysteries of reproduction, birth and development. He discussed why some children are born mute or blind and explored why a mother’s mental state can affect the health of her unborn child, since he believed that "one and the same soul nourishes the two bodies." Leonardo was especially intrigued by the brain, which he believed was the key to understanding the relationship between the senses and the soul.
Leonardo’s life and work have been the subjects of thousands of books written in many languages. Leonardo scholar Dr. Jonathan Pevsner, a research scientist at Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, has developed a lecture designed to introduce audiences to Leonardo’s contributions to neuroscience. For today’s students of science, the lecture reveals that while not all experiments will succeed, curiosity is invaluable.
LEFT: Dr. Jonathan Pevsner is a neuroscientist at Kennedy Krieger Institute and an expert on the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. The driving force behind Kennedy Krieger's work in bioinformatics, the study of biology using the tools of computer science, Dr. Pevsner is the author of Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics, one of the first texts devoted to this growing field.