Roger Bacon

Died aged c. 78

Roger Bacon (/ˈbeɪkən/; Latin: Rogerus or Rogerius Baconus, Baconis, also Frater Rogerus; c. 1219/20 – c. 1292), also known by the scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis, was a medieval English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empiricism. In the early modern era, he was regarded as a wizard and particularly famed for the story of his mechanical or necromantic brazen head. He is sometimes credited (mainly since the 19th century) as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method, along with his teacher Robert Grosseteste. Bacon applied the empirical method of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) to observations in texts attributed to Aristotle. Bacon discovered the importance of empirical testing when the results he obtained were different from those that would have been predicted by Aristotle. His linguistic work has been heralded for its early exposition of a universal grammar, and 21st-century re-evaluations emphasise that Bacon was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his "experimental" knowledge obtained from books in the scholastic tradition. He was, however, partially responsible for a revision of the medieval university curriculum, which saw the addition of optics to the traditional quadrivium. Bacon's major work, the Opus Majus, was sent to Pope Clement IV in Rome in 1267 upon the pope's request. Although gunpowder was first invented and described in China, Bacon was the first in Europe to record its formula.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Rogerus Bacon Philosophus insignis, Doctor Mirabilis Qui methodo experimentali Scientiae finas mirifice proruit Post vitam longam, strenuam, indefessam Prope hunc locum Inter Franciscanos suos In Christo obdormivit A S MCCXCII + The Great Philosopher Roger Bacon Known by the Experimental Method Extended marvellously the realm of science After a long life of untiring activity Near this place In the home of his Franciscan brethren Fell asleep in Christ A D 1292

English translation:

Old Greyfriars Street, Oxford, United Kingdom where they died (1292)