Roger Bacon

Walter of Gurnie attends one of Roger Bacon's "radical" lectures at Oxford and is incredibly impressed with all he hears.  Bacon's accounts of the land of Cathay, inspire Walter and Tristram's journey to that distant and unknown land.

"Roger Bacon, byname Doctor Mirabilis (Latin: “Wonderful Teacher”)    (born c. 1220, Ilchester, Somerset, or Bisley, Gloucester?, Eng.—died 1292, Oxford?), Roger Bacon. [Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images]English Franciscan philosopher and educational reformer who was a major medieval proponent of experimental science. Bacon studied mathematics, astronomy, optics, alchemy, and languages. He was the first European to describe in detail the process of making gunpowder, and he proposed flying machines and motorized ships and carriages. Bacon (as he himself complacently remarked) displayed a prodigious energy and zeal in the pursuit of experimental science; indeed, his studies were talked about everywhere and eventually won him a place in popular literature as a kind of wonder worker. Bacon therefore represents a historically precocious expression of the empirical spirit of experimental science, even though his actual practice of it seems to have been exaggerated." (Encyclopedia Britannica).

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