Doctor Mirabilis

John Cousins
March 4, 2023
3 min read

Roger Bacon was a 13th-century English philosopher and Franciscan friar who made significant contributions to mathematics, optics, and scientific methodology.

Bacon was born in Ilchester, England, in 1214 and entered the Franciscan order at a young age. He studied at the University of Paris, where he was exposed to the works of Aristotle and other ancient philosophers. He later returned to England and began teaching at Oxford University.

One of Bacon’s most notable achievements was his work in the field of optics. He invented the camera obscura, a device that uses a lens to project an inverted image of the outside world onto a screen. He also made significant contributions to the understanding of the properties of light and color.

In addition to his optics work, Bacon was a skilled mathematician. He wrote several treatises on the subject, including one on the calculation of Easter, which the Catholic Church widely used.

Bacon is also known for his emphasis on the importance of experimental science. He believed that investigators should acquire scientific knowledge through observation and experimentation rather than solely relying on the works of ancient authorities.

He also stressed the importance of scientific education and the need for scientists to communicate their findings to the public.

Roger Bacon was one of the greatest minds of the Middle Ages. His work in optics and scientific methodology laid the foundation for many of the scientific advancements of the modern era. His emphasis on experimental science and the importance of education and communication remain relevant today.

Roger Bacon, also known as Doctor Mirabilis, was known to have had an interest in the occult and alchemy. However, his knowledge of these subjects was more expansive than only theoretical or speculative. He was actively experimenting with them.

Bacon was particularly interested in studying alchemy, a medieval chemical science aimed at transforming base metals into gold.

He believed that alchemy could improve the human condition and that alchemical knowledge was essential for understanding the natural world. He wrote several works on the subject, including “Thesaurus Chemicus” and “De Alchemia.”

Bacon’s interest in the occult also extended to other areas, such as astrology and magic. He believed that the study of astrology could predict future events, and one could use that magic to gain control over natural forces. He wrote extensively on these subjects, including a work called “De Signis,” which dealt with astrological predictions.

It is important to note that Bacon’s views on these subjects were not accepted by his contemporaries. Many of his ideas were unorthodox, and he was imprisoned by the Franciscan order for his heretical teachings.

A sad story from Roger Bacon’s life is his imprisonment by the Franciscans.

In the early 1270s, Bacon wrote “Opus Majus,” a comprehensive guide to studying the natural world. In it, he discussed a wide range of subjects, including mathematics, optics, alchemy, and the occult.

He sent the work to Pope Clement IV, hoping to gain the Pope’s support for his ideas.

However, the Pope’s response was different from what Bacon had hoped for. Instead of supporting him, the Pope ordered Bacon to be arrested and imprisoned by the Franciscan order for his unorthodox teachings.

The Chruch held Bacon in confinement for over a decade.

He continued to write and study during this time, producing several important works, including “Opus Tertium” and “Compendium Studii Philosophiae.” He also wrote several letters to the Pope, pleading for his release and explaining the importance of his work.

Despite Bacon’s pleas, he was held in prison until 1292, a year after Pope Clement IV’s death.

After his release, Bacon retired from public life and devoted himself to his studies until he died in 1294.

The story of Roger Bacon’s imprisonment is a reminder of the challenges that innovators, thinkers, and entrepreneurs can face when their ideas challenge the status quo.

Even though Bacon’s ideas were considered unorthodox by his contemporaries, he didn’t give up on them.

Despite the challenges he faced, he persisted and continued to write and study, showing his dedication to his work and ultimately being remembered as one of the greatest minds of the Middle Ages.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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