Roger Bacon
(1214-1292)

Died aged c. 78

Roger Bacon, OFM (Latin: Rogerus or Rogerius Bacon, also Frater Rogerus, "Brother Roger"; c. 1219/20 – c. 1292), also known by the scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis (Latin for "wondrous doctor"), was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. 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 inspired by Aristotle and by later scholars such as the Arab scientist Alhazen. His linguistic work has been heralded for its early exposition of a universal grammar. However, more recent re-evaluations emphasise that Roger 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. A survey of how Bacon's work was received over the centuries found that it often reflected the concerns and controversies that were central to his readers. 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, Roger Bacon was the first in Europe to record its formula.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Bill Nicholls on Geograph

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)