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The 15 Most Important People in European History

The List:
1 Adolf Hitler
2 Isaac Newton
3 Albert Einstein
4 Queen Elizabeth I
5 Charles Darwin
6 King Henry VIII
7 Leonardo Da Vinci
8 Mahatma Gandhi
9 Otto Von Bismarck
10 Galileo Galilei
11 Winston Churchill
12 Michelangelo
13 William Shakespeare
14 Francis Bacon
15 Pablo Picasso
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No. 14 Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was the son of Nicolas Bacon, the Lord Keeper of the Seal of Elisabeth I. He was born on January 22, 1561 in London. He entered Trinity College Cambridge at age 12. His father died when he was 18, and being the youngest son this left him virtually penniless. He turned to the law and at 23 he was already in the House of Common. It was not until James I became King that Bacon's career advanced. He rose to become Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans and Lord Chancellor of England. His fall came about in the course of a struggle between King and Parliament. He was accused of having taken a bribe while a judge, tried and found guilty. He thus lost his personal honor, his fortune and his place at court.

Bacon quickly became known for his ideas on how to conduct scientific inquiry. He believed that what was observed was true, regardless of how the political or religious status quo saw it. His method was actually quite simple, observe nature to determine a problem. Then try and find a possible solution, the hypothesis, which is testable. Testable means that it can be proven wrong. Then carefully designed experiments must be developed that can test the hypothesis. If enough experiments have not proved the hypothesis wrong, then the hypothesis can be upgraded to a theory. However, if anything ever disproves that theory, then it is wrong in its entirety. This movement quickly became the norm in all of scientific inquiry, and is still used today in all branches of science.

Bacon saw himself as the inventor of a method that would kindle a light in nature. This method involved the collection of data, their interpretation, the carrying out of experiments, in order to learn the secrets of nature by organized observation of its regularities. Bacon's proposals had a powerful influence on the development of science in seventeenth century Europe. Thomas Hobbes served as Bacon's last amunensis or secretary. Many members of the British Royal Society saw Bacon as advocating the kind of enquiry conducted by that society. Bacon died of bronchitis on April 9, 1626.

Did Bacon direct impact on people's everyday lives? Yes, he certainly did. His philosophies live on and are useful in people's everyday lives. Until Bacon, philosophies were rooted not so much in reason but in pure faith, promoted by the church. Bacon delineated the principles of the inductive thinking method, which, while as a method goes back to the times of Aristotle, constituted a breakthrough in the approach to science.

Bacon's philosophies had a large-scale impact on countries. People began to think differently and question ideals. The church, which had previously been the biggest, unquestionable strength was now being questioned. His influence is incredible. The third reason for inclusion is the impact on long-term movements. Bacon's ideas were just the beginning of a new wave of thinking. The church would eventually loose power and people would start becoming even more intelligent once they realized that they could be questioning numerous ideas before believing them.

Birth: January 22, 1561 in London
Nickname: Not Applicable
Education: Trinity College, Cambridge University , 1573-1575; left Cambridge without a degree.
Occupation: Writer, philosopher and statesman
Religious Affiliation: Anglican
Marriage: 1605 - Alice Barnham
Children: None.
Political Affiliation: He was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1618 by James I. In 1621, his political career ended after he was charged by the Parliament with accepting bribes.
Writings: The Essays (1601)
The Proficience and Advancement of Learning (1605)
Novum Organum (1620)
The New Atlantis (1626)
Sylva Sylvarum (1627)
Died: April 9, 1626 near London
Buried: St. Michael's Church, St. Albans

Links for Francis Bacon
Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) -
Poems of Sir Francis Bacon -
Francis Bacon -
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