Copyright 1995 by Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.
The French mathematician, theologian, and philosopher Marin Mersenne, b. Sept.
9, 1588, d. Sept 1, 1648, is best known for his role as a clearinghouse for correspondence
between eminent philosophers and scientists. He belonged to the religious order
of the Minims, and his cell in Paris furnished a meeting place for Fermat, Pascal,
Gassendi, and others who later became the core of the French Academy. Mersenne
defended Descartes and Galileo against theological criticism and struggled to
expose the pseudosciences of alchemy and astrology. He continued some of Galileo's
work in acoustics and stimulated some of Galileo's own later discoveries.
Bibliography: Dear, Peter, Mersenne and the Learning
of the Schools (1988).