Roger Bacon, English philosopher and scientist, c 1290.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Richard Godfrey of Long Acre from an original picture in the collection at Knole. Bacon (1214-1292) gained a reputation as 'Doctor Mirabilis' for his teaching of magic, philosophy and alchemy. As a Franciscan, his work was censored and he was later imprisoned for heresy. He is linked to the invention of the magnifying glas and gunpowder, and plans for flying machines, microscopes and telescopes. His progresive championing of mathematical proof and experimentalism was unrecognized at the time.