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Father Marin Mersenne and the New Mathematical Approach during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century Essay Example

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Father Marin Mersenne and the New Mathematical Approach during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century

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Father Marin Mersenne and the New Mathematical Approach during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century. In addition, he inspired the invention of the pendulum clock (Borowski & Borwein, 1989:375). However, Father Marin Mersenne was most influential in disseminating the mathematical ideas of others. For example, it was due to Mersenne that Galileo’s ideas on the path of a falling object on a rotating earth, was widely discussed in France (ibid: 342). Similarly, some of Fermat’s works on analytic geometry, and Descartes’ analysis of inverse tangent problems, were made known in France and Italy through Mersenne. For Fermat, Mersenne was the prime source for disseminating his thoughts. Mersenne was also responsible for engaging mathematicians at the time on the cycloid. Were it not for the tireless efforts of Father Mersenne, many scientific discoveries of the 17th century would not have been known so widely (Young & Minerovic, 1998).

The question is what impelled Father Marin Mersenne? His philosophical stance was most likely influenced by Aristotle, because he was known to be a staunch defender of him against attacks “by those who would replace him by a new philosophy” (Garber, 2004). He also set out to expose what intellectuals at the time considered as “the unfounded and unexplained sciences” (Karjala, 2002), namely astrology and alchemy. To him, the Renaissance revival of the doctrine of anima mundi, i. that matter is imbued with life, and linking God with nature was a dangerous trend because it legitimized magical beliefs and practices (Shapin, 1996:43). This naturalism could potentially dispel the explanatory role of God, so he considered it a duty to promote the mechanistic view in which matter is seen as passive. Furthermore, Father Mersenne himself was influenced by the view seeing “the existence of certainty in knowledge” (David, 2007:34), and specifically promoted Mathematics as “the most certain and permanent form of earthly knowledge” (ibid: 32).David, Paul Rodney David Egene. History of. Father Marin Mersenne and the New Mathematical Approach during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century.

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References

Borowski, E, J. and Borwein, J. M. (1989). Collins Dictionary of Mathematics. Great Britain, Harper Collins Publishers.

Boyer, Carl B. (1991). A History of Mathematics. New York, John, Wiley & Sons, Inc.

David, Paul A. (2007). The Historical Origins of Open Science: An essay on patronage, reputation and common agency contracting in the scientific revolution. Retrieved November 20, 2009 from http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/workp/swp06008.pdf.

Garber, Daniel. (2004). On the Frontlines of the Scientific Revolution: How Mercenne Learned to Love Galileo. Perspectives on Science. Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 135-163.

Karjala, Rodney S. (2002). Marin Mersenne. Wichita State University, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Math 750J Project. Retrieved November 20, 2009 from http://www.math.wichita.edu/history/men.html.

Selkirk, Keith. (1992). Mathematics Handbook. York Press, Longman.

Shapin, Steven. (1996). The scientific revolution. University of Chicago Press.

Smith, David Egene. (1951). History of Mathematics. Vol. 1: General Survey of the History of Elementary Mathematics. New York, Dover Publications. Retrieved November 20, 2009 from http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofmathema033304mbp/historyofmathema033304mbp_djvu.txt.

Young, Robyn V. and Minerovic, Zoran. (1998). Notable Mathematicians: From Ancient Times to the Present. Gale Research.

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