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Bernard de Fontenelle, French Author

Bernard de Fontenelle, French Author


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Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle (February 11, 1657 - January 9, 1757) was a French author and an influential member of three of the academies of the Institut de France, noted especially for his accessible treatment of scientific topics during the unfolding of the Age of Enlightenment. He is most remembered for his 17th century book Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (Entretiens sur la pluralite des mondes) one of the first books to attempt an explanation of scientific theories in popular language. The book itself is presented as a series of conversations between a gallant philosopher and a marquise, who walk in the latter's garden at night and gaze at stars. The philosopher explains the heliocentric model and also muses on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. A noted gourmand, he attributed his longevity to eating strawberries. At 92 one woman wrote that he was as lively as a man of 22. When, in his late nineties he met the beautiful.

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