Leonardo da Vinci: The Archetype of Sleeping Beauty in Science

Diana Tal, Avishag Gordon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-76
    Number of pages6
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


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

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • General Social Sciences


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