Roger Bacon, English natural philosopher

Roger Bacon, English natural philosopher

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Roger Bacon (c.1214-1292), English natural philosopher and alchemist, in his tower observatory at his monastery in Oxford, England. Bacon studied at Oxford and in Paris, and joined the Franciscan Order (c.1247) as a monk. Like Galileo, Bacon's bold ideas attracted persecution, and his Order had him imprisoned for 15 years. Bacon was an early proponent of the experimental method. He foresaw Man controlling Nature, predicted mechanical land, air and undersea transport, suggested that Man could circumnavigate the earth, and mentioned gunpowder. Bacon foreshadowed Paracelsus when he claimed that alchemy was essential to medicine. Engraving from the 1883 edition of Vies des Savants Illustres.

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