Leonardo and Theoretical Mathematics


Leonardo’s mathematical notes bear witness to a work in progress and allow us to look directly into the mind of the writer. In Leonardo we find two of the three fundamental classical geometric problems: the duplication of the cube and the quadrature of the circle. While Leonardo is extremely familiar with two-dimensional geometry problems, and proposes playful graphic exercises of adding and subtracting polygonal surfaces of all kinds, he is still unable to solve the problem of the duplication of the cube. Numerous pages testify of the attempt to rise above planar geometry and reach the realm of the third dimension, but Leonardo always bumps against the limits of quantity calculation possibilities of his age.

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Correspondence to Sylvie Duvernoy.

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Duvernoy, S. Leonardo and Theoretical Mathematics. Nexus Netw J 10, 39–49 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00004-007-0055-9

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  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Luca Pacioli
  • quadrature of the circle
  • doubling the cube
  • Renaissance mathematics