05 June 2018
7:00 pm
Tech & Society: “Da Vinci, the innovator”
Conference, Debate
Espacio Fundación Telefónica

Tech & Society: “Da Vinci, the innovator”


Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica held a new conference on June 5th within the Tech & Society cicle with Walter Isaacson, CEO of The Aspen Institute for the past 14 years and author of Leonardo Da Vinci: the biography (Debate, 2014); Einstein, his life and universe (Debate, 2008) or Steve Jobs (Debate, 2011); among others.

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from the conexion between technology, arts and humanities. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper.

Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions -greatly represented in the reproduction of Vitruvian Man- remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it: to be imaginative and to think different.

The conference was held in english and was translated simultaneously.

WALTER ISAACSON (@WalterIsaacson)

Walter Isaacson is a Professor of History at Tulane and an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City. He has been CEO of The Aspen Institute for the past 14 years, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow, and has been the chairman of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

Isaacson’s most recent biography, Leonardo da Vinci (2017), offers new discoveries about Leonardo’s life and work, weaving a narrative that connects his art to his science. He is also the author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014), Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).

He is a host of the show “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and CNN, a contributor to CNBC, and host of the podcast “Trailblazers, from Dell Technologies.”

Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of digital media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

He is chair emeritus of Teach for America. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held from 2009 to 2012.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the American Philosophical Society. He serves on the board of United Airlines, the New Orleans City Planning Commission, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Society of American Historians, the U.S. Defense Department Innovation Board, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Recommended articles

Adam Grant, From Leonardo da Vinci to Steve Jobs: The Benefits of Being a Misfit, Knowledge@Warton
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators, Talks at Google Video
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators, The Aspen Institute
Walter Isaacson, Innovators of Digital Revolution, NBC “Meet the Press: Press Pass”
Walter Isaacson, The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs, Harvard Business Review
Walter Isaacson, Por qué Steve era distinto, El País


More information

  • José M. de Areilza
Espacio Fundación Telefónica
  • Conference
  • Debate