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Nicolas Oresme

Nicolas Oresme (c. 1320July 11, 1382) was French medieval philosopher whose ideas presaged the Renaissance period.

Oresme was born in Allemagne (the former name of the current commune of Fleury-sur-Orne in Calvados, Normandy, France). He lived during the Hundred Years War, and Normandy was often occupied by England. Of modest birth, his desire to learn pushed him to enter the orders. He was noticed by the entourage of the king of France, and he began his theology studies in Paris in 1348. He became the preceptor of Charles V who offered him the Lisieux diocese in 1377. It was in this city that he died in 1382.

His writings were partly in Latin and partly in French, and they cover two types of subject. In works such as De l'origine, nature et mutation des monnaies, he worked in economics. In works such as De coelo et muno, (Treatise of the Heavens and of the World), he shows himself a precursor of Nicolas Copernicus. He picked up John Buridan's idea of the movement of the earth and countered objections to the theory. He also demonstrated, in that work, analytic geometry and anticipated René Descartes, and he set forth a law for the motion of falling bodies and thus anticipated Galileo. He developed fractional exponent s. Oresme also suggested the existence of more than one universe.

Last updated: 02-16-2005 09:03:18
Last updated: 02-28-2005 11:21:10