Francis Bacon, 1561 - 1626

portrait of Francis Bacon
Oil on canvas by John Vanderbank, ca. 1731, from an original by an unkown artist, ca. 1618
Francis Bacon signature
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Born: 22 January 1561, London, England
Died: 9 April 1626, Highgate, England

Educated at home due to ill health, Bacon entered Trinity College, Cambridge at age twelve. Three years later he entered Gray's Inn, then the largest of the four "Inns of Court" from which all barristers in England and Wales come. He spent three years on the continent, mostly in France, studying language, law, and statecraft while performing occasional diplomatic tasks. His father died in 1579, prompting his return to England. He took his first seat in Parliament in 1584, serving three ridings over the years, became Queen's Counsel in 1596. After James I came to power, he was named Attorney General in 1613, Lord Chancellor in 1618. His career ended in disgrace over charges of corruption, he provided a written confession to all twenty-three counts, but it is unclear whether this was the truth or the means to protect the king from further inquiries. He wrote extensively on philosophy and science, what we now call the "scientific method" was first advanced in his Novum Organum. The theory has been advanced at various times that Bacon is the actual author of the plays attributed to William Shakespeare, even during their lifetimes. He may be one of the small group of scientists killed by their own experiments, he died of pneumonia shortly after experimenting with preserving meat by packing an eviscerated foul in snow; the argument is that the experimenter spent too much time at the same temperature as the experiment.

Biography from Wikipedia and Luminarium

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