General Knowledge Trivia Quiz

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10. Intellectual property

To whom was awarded the first patent for a technical invention?

A) Christiaan Huygens, mathematician and engineer
B) Filippo Brunelleschi, architect and engineer
C) Leonardo da Vinci, artist and inventor
D) Sir Christopher Wren, architect and scientist

Your answer — A) Christiaan Huygens, mathematician and engineer — was incorrect.

Brunelleschi (1377-1446) trained as a goldsmith and sculptor in his native Florence, but from the outset displayed a talent for mathematics and technical innovation. From a lifetime of achievements he is most celebrated for rediscovering and enlarging upon the engineering principles used by the architects of ancient Greece and Rome, for developing the science of artistic perspective, and for the monumental engineering feat involved in the construction of the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral of Florence. In 1421, Brunelleschi devised a barge with a hoist to be used for bringing marble blocks up the river Arno to Florence from the quarries at Carrera. However, he refused to construct the vessel until the city awarded him the exclusive right to use his design for a period of three years. The arrangement was approved, and is now regarded as the first technical patent in history.

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