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In anticipation of the world premiere of the Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary exhibition in February 2021 we would like share with you some of our most intriguing findings about the Italian scientist, astronomer and mathematician. While some of these facts are obscure, Galileo’s discoveries four centuries ago enabled great paradigm shifts in science, and paved the way for space travel in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Leonardo’s funny bone

It is a little-known fact that Leonardo da Vinci worked in entertainment. Of course, the industry didn’t exist in the Renaissance, but da Vinci was a skilled musician and he created and played quirky and beautiful musical instruments. There are many written accounts of the elaborate theatrical props that da Vinci invented as well as staging that made actors appear and disappear as if by magic for his wealthy patrons.

Da Vinci’s ability to imagine and sketch dragons and other fantastical creatures with wings was key to his genius. He was commissioned by Pope Leo X to create a mechanical lion for the amusement of Francois I, the King of France. The fearsome-looking automaton would propel itself onto the stage. When the King struck it would open its mouth releasing lillies, the King’s floral emblem.

Other accounts tell of actors dressed as angels with wings entering the stage by hidden ropes creating the illusion they had flown from the heavens, much to the delight, awe, and wonder of the guests of the court. Even the sketch of the bicycle, found in the Codex Atlanticus (1478-1519), was thought to have been not so much the precursor to the two-wheeled vehicle but a stage prop.

Visitors to the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville Florida can see for themselves how entertainment, and specifically the art of comedy, was reshaped during da Vinci’s times.

On 28 October MOSH is hosting a special event with Jacksonville-based comedians.
Tickets include entry to The Da Vinci Machines & Robotics exhibition.

Leonardo da Vinci, Fight between a Dragon and a Lion. British Museum

Galileo’s legacy

Can you imagine what the world would be like without science, global telecommunications or modern medicine?

Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) the Italian scientist, astronomer and mathematician is best known for his fearless and pioneering work in science, physics and astronomy. Considered to be the ‘father of modern science’, Galileo challenged the beliefs of the time and paid a high price.

With his powerful telescope, he was able to demonstrate the theory held by Nicolaus Copernicus and other scientists that the sun is at the centre of our universe, not the Earth. He was tried by the Roman Inquisition, forced to stop teaching and publishing his ideas which were considered heretical, and kept under house arrest until his death.

Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary is the world’s first interactive exhibition on Galileo’s groundbreaking science, influential discoveries and inspirational life. The exhibition opened at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand on 19 June.

The story of how Galileo’s discoveries four hundred years ago shaped our modern world is told through the themes of Astronomy, Simple Machines, Gravity, Motion and Time, and Military and Inventions. The section on Experimental Science is dedicated to examining Galileo’s extraordinary legacy.

Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary. Photo courtesy of Canterbury Museum, Christchurch

For details on the exhibition visit; www.artisansofflorence.com/exhibitions/galileo-scientist-scholar-visionary/

A night with Galileo

Italian Renaissance scientist Galileo Galilei changed the world with his inventions and experiments – but his latest discovery is top secret.

Over three nights in July aspiring sleuths have the opportunity to crack the “Galileo Code”. As part of Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, NZ, visitors are invited to explore the museum at night.

Kids under 16 will enjoy solving the clues, revealing the codeword and discovering Galileo’s inventions that changed the world.

13th, 14th and 15th July 2021
6pm – 8pm

Visit Stuff NZ to take a sneak peek with Artisans of Florence Director Tom Rizzo who demonstrates and discusses some examples of Galileo’s groundbreaking science featured in the family-friendly interactive exhibition.

Image courtesy of Stacy Squires/ Stuff NZ

“The purpose of the Artisans of Florence’s exhibitions is getting people to understand the long arc of science through interacting with hands-on exhibits.”
– Tom Rizzo, Director

The father of modern science

The moon landing, space exploration, satellites and global telecommunications, telescopes, navigation at sea, medical instruments that measure heart rate and even the clock…None of these would have been possible without the discoveries of Galileo!

‘Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary’ is now open at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch NZ. There are more than 60 experiments and inventions by the “father of modern science”.

Learn how Galileo’s fearless and pioneering work in Science, Physics, and Astronomy four centuries ago has shaped our modern world. 

Installation view of Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary (2021). Photo courtesy of Canterbury Museum

The nature of genius

What do the world’s greatest thinkers, scientists, artists, and visionaries have in common?

Archimedes of Syracuse, Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo Galilei drew on the scientific knowledge of their times. They observed, measured, and imagined. They challenged widely accepted and long-held beliefs and created new knowledge. Each of them tested their hypotheses and adjusted their theories. Their discoveries changed the course of history.

We have the privilege of touring the iconic machines and exhibits based on the groundbreaking works of these geniuses. In the process of creating our exhibitions, the Artisans make discoveries of their own and unravel mysteries that bring us closer to understanding the nature of genius.

Not many of us will ever have the impact on the world that Archimedes, Da Vinci and Galilei have had, but we can learn from them.

In the words of the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer:

Talent hits a target no one else can hit;
Genius hits a target no one else can see

What have the Romans ever done for us!?

Quite a lot it turns out.
It is remarkable how a civilization 2000 years ago on the other side of the world could have influenced not just our science, art, engineering, architecture and culture but also our ways of thinking. Be prepared to learn something new and unexpected about ancient Rome, contemporary society and human nature.

Ancient Rome: The Empire that Shaped the World exhibition has opened at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville.

Artisans of Florence Director Thomas Rizzo said the exhibition really resonates in regional communities where practical innovation, teamwork and community is key to success. “It’s a testament to the Roman Empire’s lasting impact on our modern world and way of life, and the practical can-do attitude of the Romans,” Mr Rizzo said.

On until 14 November 2021. Entry is free with museum admission. The exhibition will run alongside Antiquities Revealed, a Queensland Museum travelling exhibition that showcases the Queensland State Collection of real artefacts from ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.

Read more about the exhibition’s themes on the Artisans of Florence International website.


How Galileo’s discoveries shaped us

The moon landing, space exploration, satellites and global telecommunications, telescopes, navigation at sea, medical instruments that measure heart rate, and even the clock…

None of these would have been possible without this man…

Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary is on at Waikato Museum, Hamilton, New Zealand until 7 June 2021.

Explore and experience the art of science through hands-on, interactive experiments and exhibits.

Find out how Galileo’s fearless and pioneering work in Science, Physics and Astronomy 400 years ago shaped our modern world.

Leonardo da Vinci, Geologist

Did you know that through his meticulous observations of rocks and fossils Leonardo da Vinci made earth-shattering discoveries in the field of geology?

During his detailed investigation of terrain and his topological study of the Alpine region north of Milan, Leonardo made accurate annotations on fish fossil and leaf fossil nichi in the Codex Leister, Codex Atlanticus and Paris Manuscripts.

He was the first to understand that the Alps were once submerged under the sea and then raised. This was only fully understood by the scientific community in the 1950s when the theory of Plate Tectonics gained acceptance.

You can see the Da Vinci Machines exhibition at Latrobe Regional Gallery in Morwell, Victoria, from Sat 27 February.

Be prepared to discover new things about the genius who is best known for his famous paintings and iconic inventions.
Free but bookings are essential.

#davinci #geology #fossils

Is it possible to see the world spin from Earth?

A new exhibit has been unveiled for the world premiere of the Artisans of Florence’s Galileo: Scientist, Astronomer, Visionary exhibition that may be able to answer that question.

Galileo’s revolutionary ideas were well ahead of his time. His astronomical discoveries demonstrated that the Earth revolves around the Sun as it spins on its own axis and his Pendulum Laws led to the first clocks and the birth of experimental science.

Imagine Galileo’s delight if he were able to fast forward a few hundred years to the Paris observatory in 1851 to see a marvelous demonstration by French Physicist Léon Foucault. Foucault was able to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation to astonished crowds by setting an enormous pendulum in motion.

As the Foucault Pendulum swings back and forth it slowly rotates around the room, or at least that’s how it appears to us mere Earthbound mortals! In actual fact, we are not observing the pendulum rotate around the room, we are watching the Earth rotate around the pendulum!

You really have to see it to believe it! But if you aren’t able to make it to beautiful New Zealand for the world premiere of the Galileo exhibition in February 2021 you can watch this great time-lapse demonstration by Environmental Scientist Kurtis Baute.

Australia’s da Vinci

David Unaipon (1872 – 1967), a Ngarrindjeri man of the Coorong region of South Australia, was an author, inventor, evangelical preacher, and political activist. His many significant accomplishments during a period that book-ends Australian federation challenged the prejudiced stereotypes held about Aboriginal people.

Unaipon spent much of his life reading science books and was particularly fascinated by perpetual motion. His deep understanding of the fundamental principles of physics led to his most successful invention, a sheep-shearing handpiece that converts curvilinear motion into the straight-line movement. This design, partially patented in 1909 greatly improved the efficiency of the cutting blades and is still in use today.

His helicopter design in 1914, based on the aerodynamics of the boomerang, pre-dates the manufacture of the world’s first ‘hovering aircraft’ by 25 years.

His research into the polarisation of light points to him also being a pioneer in the field of photonics. In an interview published in the Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA 1/6/1914) he said; “We are gradually coming to the age when we might expect to be able to hurl electricity, like Nature does, for instance, in the shape of lightning.”

Unaipon’s legacy has been re-examined in more recent times, and his image along with his shearing shears design has been on the Australian $50 banknote since 1995.