A 500-Year-Old ‘Paradox’ By Leonardo Da Vinci Has Finally Been Solved

  • More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci was watching air bubbles float up through water—as you do when you’re a Renaissance-era polymath—when he noticed that some bubbles inexplicably started spiraling or zigzagging instead of making a straight ascent to the surface.
  • For centuries, nobody has offered a satisfying explanation for this weird periodic deviation in the motion of some bubbles through water, which has been called “Leonardo’s paradox.”
  • Now, a pair of scientists think they may have finally solved the longstanding riddle by developing new simulations that match high-precision measurements of the effect, according to a study published on Tuesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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