Leonardo: Parachute of the Past


April 28, 2008
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Paul
Authored By Paul Bernhard

Paul Bernhard has been actively involved with the Museum’s Wiess Energy Hall for fifteen years, but he still doesn’t know how to assess the influence of the Boycott effect on drilling mud flow, or even how to calculate the Gibbs free energy of PEMFP fuel cells. Nonetheless, due to sheer longevity, Bernhard has become the spokesman for all things energy-related at the Museum. His blog will reflect this.

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Just to confirm that Leonardo da Vinci is STILL way ahead of his time, his 1480s design for the parachute is making  the news again in 2008. Olivier Vietti-Teppa, a Swiss daredevil, just recently became the first person to successfully reach the ground using Leonardo’s unique pyramid-shaped design for the chute.

Vietti-Teppa only major change to Leonardo’s design was to leave out the wooden frame, because he was concerned about the added weight.

If you have not yet made it to “Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius,” currently on view at the museum, come on by and check out the parachute for yourself, along with dozens more of Leonardo’s radical innovations. As far as we know, nobody has taken to the seas in a full-sized version of Leo’s warship that attacks other vessels with a giant scythe, so if you get busy, you can build that one and make the news yourself.

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Be like Noah… with a vengence

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