Discovery Channel’s “Doing DaVinci” – Technical Expert, Dr. Jonathan Pevsner

The Discovery Channel’s new hit Reality TV series, Doing DaVinci is all about artist and inventor Leonardo DaVinci. Leonardo lived from the 15th into the 16th century, but many of his inventions are being built for the first time in the 21st century. To have the best chance at success, it takes the mind of someone very much in tune with the thinking of Leonardo DaVinci himself.

A Leader for the Team

Dr. Jonathan Pevsner is almost a fanatic when it comes to Leonardo’s thinking. A very interesting article in the Washington Post was written previous to the debut of the show. In an April 27, 2009 article entitled, A Scholar’s Inventive Approach to Leonardo© by Neely Tucker. The article tells of Jonathan’s purchase, while still a graduate student, of a $3,000, 1651 prize volume of DaVinci’s work, entitled (in English) “Treatise on Painting” – this at a time when Dr. Pevsner was making a mere $16,000 per year.

Certain it is that Dr. Jonathan Pevsner is very busy. A family man, the Baltimore-based professional is Professor at Johns-Hopkins University. He is President of Krieger Institute at which he has a laboratory named for him. He is expert in the genetic studies called bioinformatics. As if that wasn’t enough for one man, Dr. Pevsner has accepted the leadership role for Discovery Channel’s “Doing DaVinci,” featuring the wartime inventions of DaVinci, usually only thought of as a great artist.

The Team and Occasional Guests

Dr. Pevsner heads up a design and construction crew of four basic members, namely: Val Sykes, Jurgen Heimann, Flash Hopkins, and Bill Duggan. Occasionally, dependent upon the project, a specialist may perform some of the work, or even be invited before the cameras to perform required tasks. Issues of safety or specialized metal work have been sufficient cause for the Discovery Channel’sDoing DaVinci” to warrant this.

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Modus Operandum

The four main Discovery Channel crew members are usually divided into two camps: Val and Jurgen constitute the design and metal-working team, while Flash and Bill make up the wood-working team. Occasionally, the two teams may even compete by forming their own versions of Leonardo’s work, where instructions allow different visualizations.

Dr. Pevsner is a kind of Court of Appeals when it comes to small innovations. On one episode, something like bearings were needed to improve the translational motion of a particularly heavy invention. Jonathan informed the crew that it was Leonardo DaVinci, himself, who was instrumental in the development of certain kinds of bearings. Innovation approved! The project was accomplished.

In the Stream of Doing DaVinci Broadcast Time

So far, six episodes have appeared on the Discovery Channel, and one new one has finished filming, with another episode in the works (as of Jun 2009). In each of these episodes, a successful completion of the undertaken project was a most satisfying conclusion. What will be the case in the upcoming four scheduled new episodes? We have only the words of Val Sykes himself to go by, when he says, “YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THESE BUILDS.” – Facebook.