Thursday, March 20, 2008

Leonardo and Pacioli

Who would you have chosen to illustrate your mathematical text if you could choose anyone - including people long dead? Maybe not Picasso, who might confuse the readers. What about Leonardo da Vinci?

It has long been known that Leonardo da Vinci collaborated with (and was a very good friend of) the mathematician Luca Pacioli. This week, newspapers and magazines (for instance National Geographic) have written about Pacioli's "De Ludo Schaccorum" ("Of the Game of Chess"), which apparently is an important treatise for chess historians and which was just rediscovered last year.

The interesting (if unsurprising) find is that the chess diagrams may have been drawn by Leonardo da Vinci. That's cool! I wonder if Leonardo was a good chess player - I would be very surprised if he wasn't...