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Denis Papin. Engraving of Denis Papin (1647-1712), French physicist and pioneer of the steam engine. Papin studied medicine in his youth, obtaining his degree in 1669 at Angers. He was fascinated by physics, however, and worked as assistant to both Huygens and Boyle, moving to London in 1675. In 1679 he designed the steam digester, or 'Engine for softening bones', an early type of pressure cooker. His interest in steam led to his design and construction of a steam engine in 1698 which could raise a weight of 27 kilogrammes. Religious persecution prevented Papin from returning to France, his designs were never commercially applied, and he died poor in London.
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