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Born on this date in 1452 in Tuscany, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (Wikipedia) is the original “Renaissance Man,” and thus near and dear to all our hearts here at MAKE. By the time he died in 1519, aged 67 years, his achievements had established him, arguably, as the most diversely talented human being who ever lived: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. Oh, and namesake of a very famous turtle.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. Bob A. says:

    Methinks you exaggerate his accomplishments…

    By the time he died in 1512, he was not yet the namesake of a famous turtle.

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      …to the centerpiece of Boticelli’s famous 1502 “Noah’s Ark” triptych in the Masaccio chapel, which features a sea turtle and is subtitled “Leonardo” in homage to the great man. What turtle were *you* thinking of?

      1. Bob A. says:

        Oh! Botticelli’s Noah’s Ark! Of course! How could I have forgotten that?!

        Gee, now I’m a little embarrassed to say what turtle I was thinking of…

        1. Sean Michael Ragan says:


  2. migpics says:

    With all his different achievements nowadays his parents would have thought he had ADD and they’d probably throw him on meds.
    “Now Lenny, you should just stick to one thing, stop changing jobs ever so often. Employers like to see consistency in your resume. Here, take this red little pill, it will help you focus.”

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Well, think of how much more productive he would’ve been with a few dozen milligrams of methylphenidate in his system everyday.

  3. SilverAdept says:

    I’m very glad to be able to share a birthday with Leonardo. :)
    Hope I can do some coolstuff to live up to it soon.

  4. Rick says:

    April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Fixed! Thank you!