SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Leonardo da Vinci. Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian inventor, with his drawing of the parachute he invented. Leonardo is most famous for his works of art, such as the Last Supper (1498) and the Mona Lisa (1504). However, he kept extensive notebooks filled with his inventions and architectural designs. He was obsessed with flying and spent many years studying the flight of birds. He designed gliders, helicopter, bird- like aircraft (ornithopters) and a parachute. Like many of his projects, the parachute design was never published and the parachute was never actually constructed. After Leonardo's death his notes lay unnoticed in a library until 1796.
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