History - Retrospective - Milano 1997

Fondazione Stelline - Pallazo Marino, Comune di Milano

Milan is probably the most European of all Italian cities, as well as one of the industrial and thus technological centres of Italy. This is properly confirmed by its National Museum of Science and Technology, which encloses twenty-eight sections going from information technology to engines and astronomy, and some 40,000 square metres of displays. However, art and architecture are fortunately very well represented too: Il Duomo and the Teatro alla Scala is just a couple of widely known examples.
Art and science go hand in hand in Milano. It comes as no surprise that Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most illustrious geniuses of all times, lived and developed most of his visionary work in that city. Leonardo (1452-1519) was the epitome of the Renaissance man. He was a great painter, and also an architect, engineer, designer of futuristic mechanical contrivances. In brief, he was a man with apparently inexhaustible knowledge of practically everything.

Some famous reproductions of his drawings and notes can be downloaded from the Internet at http://banzai.msi.umn.edu/leonardo and http://www.museoscienza.org/english/navi/

It is difficult to define the words science and scientist at Leonardo's time. He was never a professor of natural philosophy and never struggled to develop and publish theoretical concepts about how the world works. Yet he wanted to discover for himself how certain things work and, to judge from his notebooks, he did in fact have a thorough understanding of forces, levers, winches, and the mechanics of flight. Much of these we would surely include within the realms of science today.
Leonardo left Florence for Milan in 1481 to offer his service to the local Duke, and during this period he painted the "Madonna of the Rocks" and the "Last Supper", alongside with the model of the segmented dome cladding for the Milan "Duomo". Nevertheless, from 1509 he would devote much of his time to scientific studies. He would undertake some research into optics, town planning, anatomy, and engineering projects such as channelling the course of the river Adda.
Still a curious and not widely known fact about Leonardo: his undaunted left-handedness forced him to write his manuscripts backwards, in mirror image.



  • Eike Hübner : "Permanent self-conducting polymers" D
  • Fiona Fraser - Ciara McGoldrick - Emma McQuillan : "Unravelling the secrets of the preservation of Europe's bog bodies" IRL
  • Christoph Lippuner - Antoine Wüthrich : "The digestive system of carnivorous plants" CH

  • Sebastian Hauer - Jan Nieberle: "A circuclar saw active security-system" D
  • Bernardo Silva e Carmo: "A control centre for school experiments" P
  • Serguei Idiatoulin: "The preparation of chromiferous coatings to absorb solar energy" R

  • Álvaro Luis Maroto Conde: "Paravision 1.0: window access for visually impaired" E
  • Thierry Caramigeas - Vivien Moliton - Michael Pressigout: "A microwaves controlled household management system" F
  • Gábor Ivánka: "MATIKA: the game to solve your mathematical problems" HL
  • Erik van Alphen - Tom van Diessen: "Less waste with bricks" NL
  • Anni Könönen: "Human impact on forest vegetation" FL
  • Daniel Atwood - Andrew Teesdale: "How eucalyptus resins can prevent seeds from germinating" UK

  • Eike Hübner : "Permanent self-conducting polymers" D

  • Fiona Fraser - Ciara McGoldrick - Emma McQuillan : "Unravelling the secrets of the preservation of Europe's bog bodies" IRL

  • Bernardo Silva e Carmo: "A control centre for school experiments" P

    Sue Kingsman
    Claudia Ambrosch-Draxl
    Juan M. García Ruiz
    Joseph Geraedts
    Pedro Guerreiro
    Kerksti Hermansson
    Kristinn Andersen
    Patrice Le Calvez
    Unni Pia Løvhaug
    Sauro Pasini
    Tytti Varmavuo
    Eugene Meieran