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The English philosopher and alchemist, Roger Bacon

The English philosopher and alchemist, Roger Bacon

H402/0084

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Portrait of the English philosopher and alchemist, Roger Bacon, c.1214-1292. He studied at Oxford and in Paris, and joined the Franciscan Order (c.1247) as a monk. Bacon resembles Galileo in having bold ideas, was self-confident, and his works were sup- pressed when he was imprisoned for 15 years. Bacon was neither an experimentalist nor a mathematician but believed in these approaches for science. He foresaw man controlling nature; made predictions (however imprecise) on mechanical land transport, air and undersea transport; first suggested that man could circumnavigate the earth; and mentioned gunpowder. Bacon foreshadowed Paracelsus when he claimed that alchemy was essential to medicine.

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