1170 – Robert Grosseteste – bio

Born around 1170 in Suffolk, England, Robert Grosseteste was a student of many subjects who became a bishop in the Church of England. He was proficient in the Greek language, translating many works into Latin.

He performed experiments with light and mirrors and made lenses from bowls filled with water to study refraction. His investigation into optics led him to an understanding that geometry was needed to describe the patterns of light, so he studied the works of Euclid. He taught that light was the first item of creation (“let there be light”) and therefore light was the foundation for everything else. This led him to a theory of cosmogony (the origin of the universe) based on light as “the first form”.

His works of science were strongly influenced by his religious beliefs. His writings include:

  • Several commentaries on Aristotle
  • On Light (De luce)
  • On Corporeal Motion and Light (De motu corporali et luce)
  • On Potency and Act (De potentia et actu)
  • On the Halt of Causes (De statu causarum)
  • On the Subsistence of a Thing (De subsistentia rei)
  • On the Truth of the Proposition (De veritate propositionis)
  • On the Finitude of Motion and Time (De finitate motus et temporis)
  • On Truth (De veritate)
  • On God’s Knowledge (De scientia Dei)
  • On the Order of the Emanation of Things Caused by God (De ordine emamandi causatorum a Deo)
  • On the Unique Form of all Things (De unica forma omnium)
  • On the Intelligences (De intelligentiis)
  • On the Liberal Arts (De artibus liberalibus)
  • On the Generation of Sounds (De generatione sonorum)
  • On the Sphere (De sphaera)
  • On Comets (De cometis)
  • On the Impressions of the Air (De impressionibus aæris),
  • On Lines, Angles and Figures (De lineis, angulis et figuris)
  • On the Nature of Places (De natura locorum)
  • On the Rainbow (De iride)
  • On Color, (De colore)
  • On the Heat of the Sun (De calore solis)
  • On Local Differences (De diferentiis localibus)
  • On the Impressions of the Elements (De impressionibus elementorum)
  • On the Motion of the Supercelestial Bodies (De motu supercaelestium)
  • On the Cessation of the Ceremonial Laws (De cessatione legalium)
  • On the Ten Commandments (De decem mandatis)
  • the Hexaæmeron

PRECURSOR:
-0425 – Plato
-0384 – Aristotle
-0325 – Euclid
-04 – Seneca
107 – Cicero
354 – Augustine
0872 – al-Farabi
0980 – ibn Sina (Avicenna)
1126 – ibn Rushd (Averroes)

SUBSEQUENT:
1218 – Roger Bacon
1564 – Galileo

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