Call For Applications

The Leonardo da Vinci Society and the Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation (ISSNAF) Bay Area Chapter are seeking applications for the 2019 Leonardo 500 Award. This award is established on the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death to recognize Italian or Italian American early career researchers working in the San Francisco Bay Area. An award will be assigned in each of the following three categories: biological sciences, mathematical and physical sciences, and engineering. Applications will be reviewed by subject matter experts and winners will be selected by a judging panel.  The winners will be presented with an award certificate and a $1,000 prize at The Leonardo da Vinci Gala in April 2019.

ISSNAF is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote scientific, academic, and technological cooperation amongst Italian researchers and scholars active in North America and the world of research, academia, and industry in Italy. The Bay Area Chapter of ISSNAF was established in 2017 to connect the talented pool of Italian researchers and scholars based in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, and to offer them opportunities and support.

The Leonardo da Vinci Society is a cultural organization based in San Francisco. The Society organizes presentations and other events that highlight the importance of Italian history and culture, and the importance of Italian contributions to American life. Membership is open to all who love Italy and wish to learn more about this wonderful country. Most events take place in San Francisco and guests are welcome. Leonardo Society events are free to members, invited guests, and registered attendees.

How to apply

Applicants must submit a self-nomination by email to

The application must include the following items:

  • Curriculum Vitae with publications.
  • A 1,000 words maximum essay that describes the significance and impact of the applicant’s research, and possibly the connection with Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy.

In the email, the applicant must also indicate the scientific area (biological sciences, mathematical and physical sciences, or engineering) in which the application should be considered. Only one entry is allowed.

Selection criteria

Applications will be reviewed and scored by subject matter experts based on the applicant’s accomplishments and research impact. Extra points will be given to applicants that can draw a connection between their and Leonardo’s work. The winners will be selected by a judging panel.


Applicants must have meet the following requirements:

  • received a doctoral or equivalent degree on or after January 1, 2009;
  • have performed or are performing the work described in the essay;
  • are currently affiliated with an institution located in the San Francisco Bay Area;
  • are at least 21 years old;
  • are Italian or of Italian origin.

Important dates

Applications are due January 31, 2019.

Winners will be informed by March 15, 2019.

The awards will be presented during the Leonardo da Vinci Society Gala at The Century Club of California in April 2019.

For any question contact



Becoming Leonardo

2019 Leonardo 500 Celebrations in San Francisco

The Leonardo da Vinci Society of San Francisco
in collaboration with Museo Italo Americano

Becoming Leonardo

An exploded view of the life of Leonardo Da Vinci

Book presentation by the author in person Mike Lankford

Friday, February 15 at 6:30 pm

Museo Italo Americano
Fort Mason, Building C

“I found Mr. Lankford’s writing thought-provoking and Mr. Isaacson’s thought-stifling. Mr.Lankford proposes a great many insights…With immediacy and grace, Becoming Leonardo starts on a high note and gets better to the very end.

Wall Street Journal 2017 Book of the Year
Spectator 2017 Book of the Year

Why did Leonardo Da Vinci leave so many of his major works uncompleted? Why did this resolute pacifist build war machines for the notorious Borgias? Why did he carry the Mona Lisa with him everywhere he went for decades, yet never quite finish it? Why did he write backwards, and was he really at war with Michelangelo? And was he gay?

In a book unlike anything ever written about the Renaissance genius, Mike Lankford explodes every cliché about Da Vinci and then reconstructs him based on a rich trove of available evidence—bringing to life for the modern reader the man who has been studied by scholars for centuries, yet has remained as mysterious as ever.

Seeking to envision Da Vinci without the obscuring residue of historical varnish, the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of Renaissance Italy—usually missing in other biographies—are all here, transporting readers back to a world of war and plague and court intrigue, of viciously competitive famous artists, of murderous tyrants with exquisite tastes in art ….
Lankford brilliantly captures Da Vinci’s life as the compelling and dangerous adventure it seems to have actually been—fleeing from one sanctuary to the next, somehow surviving in war zones beside his friend Machiavelli, struggling to make art his way or no way at all … and often paying dearly for those decisions.
It is a thrilling and absorbing journey into the life of a ferociously dedicated loner, whose artwork in one way or another represents his noble rebellion, providing inspiration that is timeless.

About the author: Mike Lankford
A graduate of Iowa writers Workshop and the author of Life in Double Time: Confessions of An American Drummer a memoir about a white drummer in a black R & B band. The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune selected as the best music book of the year.


This event is free of charge but seats are limited. Please register now to reserve your spot. Thank you.