Water as Microscope of Nature

Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester

Manuscript F, ff. 62v-63r Leonardo seeks to elucidate the main properties of water as an element. He studies the behavior of its elementary component: the drop. He notes its spherical shape, its cohesion with the water element (to which it is attracted like iron to a magnet), and its elasticity. He uses the same method to analyze dew drops and water bubbles, arguing that they are self-supporting thanks to their perfectly hemispheric dome shape. He applies these conclusions to the study of soap bubbles blown from a tube, pointing out that they are short-lived because the water, moving down to the lower part of the bubble, alters its spherical shape causing it to burst.