Leonardo da Vinci: Architect Extraordinaire

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Karly Bast with her scale model of Leonardo da Vinci's bridge design (Gretchen Ertl)

Scientists Prove Leonardo da Vinci’s 500-Year-Old Bridge Design Actually Works

by Jason Daley /Smithsonian.com

Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t known for getting things done. He was often years or even decades late when delivering paintings, and many of the fantastical schemes he concocted (think giant horse statues and flying machines) barely progressed beyond the page.

Still, new research conducted by engineers at MIT suggests one of the Renaissance giant’s unbuilt designs—a bridge poised to be the world’s longest—would have worked if the artist had actually followed through on his plans.

Leonardo drafted his proposal in response to Sultan Bayezid II’s 1502 appeal for bridge designs. Bayezid, ruler of the Ottoman Empire, wanted to connect the cities of Constantinople and Galata, which were separated by a river estuary called the Golden Horn.

As Jennifer Ouellette reports for Ars Technica, the main obstacle raised by Leonardo’s design was the bridge’s proposed length: At 919 feet, it would have been around 10 times longer than most contemporary bridges. If workers tasked with bringing the artist’s vision to life used conventional building techniques, they would have needed at least ten piers to bolster the structure’s weight. These piers, in turn, would have prevented ships from passing underneath the bridge.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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