I found myself thinking about Leonardo Da Vinci today and his myriad accomplishments. He is widely regarded as a gifted and influential artist, but many are also familiar that his interests and accomplishments were not confined to the world of art alone.
In addition to being a painter and sculptor, he involved himself in civil and miliary engineering, and explored and expanded diverse subjects including anatomy, biology, mathematics, astronomy, physics. He made plans for things such as a parachute, an extendable ladder of the kind that is used by fire trucks still, locks for a canal, machine guns, mortar, tanks and a submarine.
And this brought me to wonder, is such an influential person, that is, one that can contribute on a wide variety of subjects, still possible in this world of information? Or, has knowledge on these subjects expanded to the point where a person can only specialize in one or maybe two of these?
Given how little was known at the time about physics, almost any contribution or discovery would be influential. However, I suppose that it now takes many years of study just to learn and understand the principles of physics that are already known before a person can even begin to contribute much.
So I ask this of you…
Do you believe that all of the easy things have been done? From here forward, what becomes of the multi-discipline student? Does it become more and more difficult to excel in multiple fields of study? Is there soon to be introduced a level of education that extends beyond that of a “mere” Ph.D.?