Leonardo da Vinci is best remembered as the painter of the Mona Lisa (1503-1506) and The Last Supper (1495). But he's almost equally famous for his astonishing multiplicity of talents: he dabbled in architecture, sculpture, engineering, geology, hydraulics and the military arts, all with success, and in his spare time doodled parachutes and flying machines that resembled inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries. He made detailed drawings of human anatomy which are still highly regarded today. Leonardo also was quirky enough to write notebook entries in mirror (backwards) script, a trick which kept many of his observations from being widely known until decades after his death.
Professionals and specialists have always found knowledge of other disciplines helpful and inspiring.
If students are allowed to enroll only in the courses that will help prepare them for jobs in their chosen fields, the blockades between disciplines will not only hamper discoveries at the boundaries, but also preclude infusion of fresh ideas and inspiration.
With a broader knowledge base, students can choose disciplines of concentration, complexity, and profundity according to their interest. As a saying goes, interest is the best teacher. You cannot account on one to succeed in a field in which he is not interested in and the scarcity of the interest can lead to a disappearance of creativity too.
Music and art are very mathematical. In the early 1400s, Leon Battista Alberti suggested painting be considered a liberal Art with a scientific basis. In De Pictura he exposed optical perspective as a geometrical technique which could be applied by artists to their work.
You can cover a great deal of country in books.
Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
Work and experience create and broaden our knowledge. It is of value to test the veracity of the indirect book knowledge by applying it to reality. Sir Isaac Newton, applied mathematics to his personal experience, resulting the discovery of kinetic theory. Nicholus Copernicus, through extensive observation and existing scientific analysis, calculated the earth and other planets’ orbit around the sun. Such knowledge is now easily assessable in textbooks, but would require decades of work on our own to research and understand that phenomenon.
Books are valuable when knowledge is beyond the scope of our experiences. Perhaps the most obvious examples are those fluent writers. They write various stories, the scopes of which are far beyond any individual's experiences. Take Joyce Carol Oates for example, her productivity has been prodigious, accumulating in less than two decades to nearly thirty titles, including novels, collections of short stories and verse, plays and literary criticism. Although some of them appear to come from her own direct observations, her dreams, and her fears, much more is clearly from the experiences of others. Her fictive world remains strikingly akin to that real one reflected in the daily newspapers, the television news and talk shows, and the popular magazines of our day.
哥伦布 Christopher Columbus As a child, he helped his father as a weaver. He always liked the sea. Genoa was an important seaport. There is no doubt that as a child he caught rides on ships. He had little schooling but was a genius with the sea. His plan was not to prove that the world was flat, but it was to find a shortcut to the Spice Islands. He wanted to establish a city there for trade, seaports, and much more. When he grew into a man he was interested in sailing to Asia by going west.