Leonardo da Vinci: The Archetype of Sleeping Beauty in Science

Abstract

The article examines the body of literature on Leonardo da Vinci using bibliometric methods. The questions of whether Leonardo can be called a “sleeping beauty” in science and what “awakened” him for public attention are addressed. We argue that the first paper that “awakened” a large body of citations for Leonardo’s work is in physics (optics), published more than 300 years after his death, and until today physics remains the most cited field of Leonardo’s interests in science (based on Scopus database), even though da Vinci left an enormous heritage in different fields due to his versatile interests and insatiate curiosity. However, the Google Scholar search engine shows a different result. Whereas the academic world finds more interest in Leonardo as a physician, popular interest focuses on Leonardo as an artist. The holistic approach that da Vinci adhered to in studying the world makes any attempt to define him in specific terms doomed to failure.

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Correspondence to Diana Tal.

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Tal, D., Gordon, A. Leonardo da Vinci: The Archetype of Sleeping Beauty in Science. Soc 57, 71–76 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-019-00442-w

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Keywords

  • Premature discovery
  • Delayed recognition
  • Sleeping beauty
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Bibliometrics