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Biography of Marin Mersenne
Dates of Birth and Death: (∗) 9 September 1588 in Sounti` ere nearby Bourg d’Oiz´ e, in Maine, today D´ ept. Sarthe, France (†) 1 September 1648 in Paris, France Family Data: Marin Mersenne was born from a working-class family. Already as a child he was pious and was fond of learning. In 1611, Mersenne joined the order of the Minims (Paulanians, “Paulaner”, today mostly known as the name of a wheat beer in Germany) and was ordained as a priest in 1612. Mersenne died of lung abscess. Education: His parents sent Marin to the Coll` ege du Mans despite shaky financial situation, because his father wanted him to make an ecclesiastical career. At the age of sixteen years, he attended the new-found Coll` ege in la Fl` eche, run by the Jesuits, where poor pupils were also admitted and educated. Finally, in 1609 he, went for further studies to the Coll` ege Royale de France in Paris, where he studied philosophy. He also attended theological lectures at the Sorbonne; in 1611 he completed with the Magister Artium in philosophy.

Professional Career: After having finished his education, Mersenne joined the Minims (Paulians) at the Place Royale on July 16, 1611, an order founded in 1454 by Francesco di Paola (1416-1507) dedicated to devoutness and scholarship, and was ordained priest in 1612. During 1614-1618, he taught philosophy and theology in the cloister in Nevers and returned to Paris to the cloister l’Annonciade, Place Royale, in 1619. The order supported his research and publications. At first Mersenne was adherent of scholasticism, but then became an adversary of Aristotle and all mystical teaching (Alchemy, Astrology, Cabbala, Rosicrucianism) and became a convinced adherent of modern science. He was especially interested in mathematics, therefore he founded a circle of

com ) 2 scholars with interest in mathematics in Paris. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) and Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695). or “Acad´ emie Mersenne”. who partly visited him or with whom he corresponded about scientific problems. Mersenne was interested in science. he dealt with music. alchemy and astrology which he considered as pseudo-science. he travelled to Provence and to Italy. and the law of gravity. Gilles Personne de Roberval (16021675). • L’analyse de la vie spirituelle (Paris 1623. which. • Quaestiones celeberrimae in Genesim cum accuratu textus explicatione . Mersenne encouraged many young scientists and tried to help them with their publications. he built a network of European scientists. He made Galilei known outside Italy by translations his Dialogo into French and by getting the print out of the translation of the Discorsi. Armand Beaulieu (eds. He was informed about most scientific research of his times. Among them was Huygens. Isaac ´ Beeckmann (1588-1637). Among others. deism.). Besides theology. (Paris 1945-1988). barometer. 17 vols. He met scientists there. Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647). In 1629. His 78 correspondents inclueded Galileo Galilei. Publications: • Corn´ elis de Waard. Pierre de Fermat (1607/08-1665). The foundation of the Acad´ emie Royale des Sciences in Paris was made with the help of Mersenne. Jean Baptiste van Helmont (1579-1644). This network became known as “Acad´ emie Parisiensis”. in his opinion. Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637). stochastikon. Correspondance. Paris 2002). John Pell (1611-1685). permutations. Since 1623. He made friendship with Ren´ e Descartes (1596-1650) and Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655). but he also came into terms with Descartes and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). But according to him. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Mersenne’s books refuted atheism. cycloids.Copyright c by Stochastikon GmbH (http: // encyclopedia. gilt als verschollen). Pierre Gassendi. whom he proposed the use of the pendulum to measure the time. Etienne Pascal (15881651). Mersenne travelled to a health resort to the Netherlands for several months. all science was founded in God. too. Ren´ e Descartes. where they exchanged ideas. was impossible without mathematics. In 1644. • L’usage de la raison (Paris 1623.

stochastikon. • Les nouvelles pens´ ees de Galil´ ee (Paris 1639). • Translation into French of Galileo Galilei: Les mechaniques de Galilee mathematicien et ingenieur du Duc de Florence: avec plusieurs additions rares. dissonantiis. & de la th´ eologie. et de controverse: resolues par raison. th´ eologiques. causis. morales.. . • L’impi´ et´ e des d´ eistes (Paris 1624. et effectibus: de consonantiis.. orbisque totius harmonicis (Paris 1635. Francisci Georgii Veneti cabalistica dogmata fuse refelluntur. Paris 1636. Paris 1648. • Harmonicorum libri XII: in quibus agitur de sonorum natura. 3 vols. Paris 1985).. • Observationes et emendationes ad Franc. 2004). Gen` eve 1987). • Questions rares et curieuses. modis. generibus. StuttgartBad Cannstatt 1972. Georgii Veneti problemata (Paris 1623). • Questions inouyes: ou r´ ecr´ eation des scavans (Paris 1634. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1972).. 2006). Faksimile 1986.Copyright c by Stochastikon GmbH (http: // encyclopedia. • Trait´ e de l’harmonie universelle: contenant la th´ eorie et la pratique de la musique. ensemble l’explication de plusieurs difficultez des math´ ematiques (Paris 1630). morales. et nouvelles. 2005). compositione.. • Les questions theologiques. Paris 2003. philosophes. rationibus. et mathematiques: trouvera in contement ou de l’exercice (Paris 1634). com ) 3 . ingenieurs. Stuttgart 1969. • La v´ erit´ e des sciences contre les sceptiques ou Pyrrhoniens (Paris 1625. Paris 2003). utiles aux architectes. (Paris 1627. (Paris 1623). 1965. politiques. • Questions physico-mathematiques (Paris 1635. et artisans (Paris 1634). • Questions harmoniques (Paris 1634. Graecorum & Hebraeorum musica instauratur. tir´ ees de la philosophie. physiques. fonteniers. naturelles. englisch: Harmonie universelle: the books on instruments (The Hague 1964). Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1975. 1975.. cantibus.

Hebræis et Romanis. et bini refractionvm demonstratarvm tractatvs (Paris 1644). com ) 4 • Marini Mersenni Minimi cogitata physico-mathematica: in quibus tam naturæ qu` am artis effectus admirandi certissimis demonstrationibus explicantur. Harmonica theorica. in Genesim (Venetiis 1767). • Marini Mersenni Quaest. Lettres in´ edites ´ ecrites de Paris ` a Peiresc (1633-1637) (Les correspondants de Peiresc 19) (Paris 1892). practica. et mechanica phaenomena. ponderibvs et nvmmis Gallicis. 2006). 2006). F. • Novarum observationum physico-mathematicarum. • Philippe Tamizey de Larroque (ed. 2006). • L’optique et la catoptrique: nouvellement mise en lumi` ere. practicae.Copyright c by Stochastikon GmbH (http: // encyclopedia. und Kommentar des “Livre cinquiesme des instrumens ` a vent” aus dem “Trait´ e des instruments” (Celle 1987). • “Livre cinquiesme des instruments ` a vent”.a. • Cogitata physico-mathematica in quibus tam naturae qu` am artis effectus admirandi certissimis demonstrationibus expicantur (Paris 1644. et Acontismologia: in qua Sagittarum. et harmoniae theoreticae. quae de musica et vi sonorum loquuntur (Ventiis 1767). Ars navigandi super et sub aquis. Marini Mersenni Minimi Tractatus Mathematici de mensvris. mit: Ballistica. • Questions physico-mathematiques.). Hydraulicae Pneumaticae. linebreak Tractatus mechanicus theoreticus et practicus (s. • Vniversæ Geometriæ mixtæque Mathematiæ synopsis. 3 vols. (Paris 1647. in: Wolfgang K¨ ohler. Die Blasinstrumente aus der “Harmonie universelle des Marin Mersenne: u ¨bers. • Tractatus De musica Hebraeorum. & aliorum Missilium Iactus. 2006). Iaculorum.de/drucke/15-4-quod-1/start. hab. . et explicatio locorum scripturae sacrae.htm?image). et de hydravlicis et pnevmaticis phænomenis: in quibus præclara de motibus. & aeris grauitate collata cum aquæ pondere. & Robur Arcuum explicantur. http://digilib. & instrumentalis libri quatuor. cum tractatu de magnete. apres la mort de l’autheur (Paris 1651). (Paris 1644. arsque navigandi.. stochastikon.. et comment. Et les mechaniques de sieur Gali´ ee (Paris 1635.

• P. 186-204. “Mersenne: d´ enombrement. 73-91.C.DC. Bernhardt. 1989). “Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) and the seventeenthcentury problem of scientific acceptability”. • Peter Robert Dear.N. Games. 2006). Mersenne and the learning of the schools (Ithaca.H. La vie du R. Coumet. Ariotti.Y. A History of Probability and Statistical Ideas (Mineola. • E. “Bonaventura Cavalieri. 164-190. (Paris 1973). 5-37.P. le grand minime (Paris 1995). “Cordes vibrantes et consonances chez Beeckman. 2006).. • Jean-Marie Constant (ed. 2 vols.. • Armand Beaulieu. Bailhache. • Vittorio Boria.. par F.D. in: Musiques et math´ ematiques (Nantes 1993) pp.). • Domenico Bertoloni Meli. Math´ ematiques et sciences humaines 38 (1972) pp. 277-283. r´ eertoires. Les nouvelles pens´ ees de Galil´ ee: math´ ematicien et in´ enieur du Duc de Florence. Crombie. David. • J. 1998) pp. M. “Mersenne. Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza 17 (1975) pp. . com ) 5 • Novarum observationum physico-mathematicorum. stochastikon.). num´ erationes de permutations”. Marin Mersenne. “The role of numerical tables in Galileo and Mersenne”. englisch: “Life of Father Marin Mersenne”.Copyright c by Stochastikon GmbH (http: // encyclopedia. and the reflecting telescope”. NY . Marin Mersenne . A Paris . 196-228. Dictionary of scientific biography. quatri` eme centenaire de la naissance de Marin Mersenne: colloque scientifique international et c´ el´ ebration nationale (Le Mans 1994).. Mersenne et Galil´ ee”. IX (New York 1974) pp. Gods and Gambling. 3 vols. Marin Mersenne: educator of scientists (Ann Arbor. in: F. commentateur de Galil´ ee: ` a propos d’une ´ edition critique des ’Nouvelles pens´ ees de Galil´ ee”’. 1588-1988. 169-177. • Armand Beaulieu. (Paris 1647. Paris 1984). Perspectives on Science 12 (2004) pp. N. • Translation into French of: Galileo Galilei. • Alistair C. Mersenne. • P. “Le groupe de Mersenne”. Physis.. 303-321. Bibliography: • Charles Coulston Gillespie (ed.E. Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Appliqu´ ees 28 (1975) pp. • Hilarion de Coste. Mich. • Trait´ e de l’orgue (Leuven 1979). Isis 66 (1975) pp. vol.XLIX (Paris 1649. • Cogitata physico-mathematica (Paris 1644. 17-34. in: Geometry and atomism in the Galilean school (Florence) pp..

• Daniel Garber. Galielo. Nardi. Isis 64 (221) (1973) pp. com ) 6 1988). Laute und Theorbe in Marin Mersennes Harmonie universelle (Frankfurt 2000). Marin Mersenne and the debate over Galileo’s law of free fall”. Desargues en son temps (Paris 1994) pp. “Mersenne: sa correspondance et l’academia parisiensis”. Hine. Fletcher. • Ren´ ee Raphael. 143-153. • Eberhard Knobloch. 111-124.R. Hine. 18-32. Engelberg. “A marginal note of Mersenne concerning the ’Galileian spiral”’. Annali di Storia della Scienza 3 (1988) pp. Early Science and Medicine 4 (1999) pp. Cosmologica e armonia in Kepler e Mersenne (Firenze 2003). Lenoble. “Galileo’s ‘Discorsi’ and Mersenne’s ’Nouvelles pens´ ees’: . • C. • Eberhard Knobloch. L’Europe math´ ematique / Mathematical Europe (Paris 1996) pp. Nuncius. • Jean-Pierre Maury.Copyright c by Stochastikon GmbH (http: // encyclopedia. 269-328. “Desargues. • Frederick Hyde. • Wolfgang K¨ ohler. The position of Marin Mersenne in the history of music (1954). • Natacha Fabbri. Marin Mersenne und seine Musiklehre (Halle/Saale. L’origine de la recherche scientifique: Mersenne (Paris 2003). 356-379.L. Mersenne. Isis 67 (236) (1976) pp. “Marin Mersennes Beitr¨ age zur Kombinatorik”. Sakarovitch (eds.). • S. • J. “Mersenne’s solution for Galileo’s problem of the rotating earth”. 421-424.). Historia Mathematica 4 (1977) pp. Perspectives on Science 12 (2004) pp. “Mersenne variants”. Jeremy Gray (eds. la tradizione”. stochastikon. Gertner. in: Catherine Goldstein.L. Physis. • Robert Lenoble. 27-64. • Ingo Negwer. “Mersenne and Copernicanism”. MacLachlan. 1-14. Berlin 1935. • R. in: J. 173-182. ´ • Etudes sur Marin Mersenne (Paris 1994). 583-597. • A. Mersenne ou la naissance du m´ ecanisme (Paris 1971). 98-103. “On the frontlines of the scientific revolution: how Mersenne learned to love Galileo”. “The rule behind ’Mersenne’s number”’. • W. Mersenne et Kircher: la musique et les math´ ematiques”. Historia Mathematica 8 (1981) pp. • W. • C. “La quadratura della velocit` e. Drake. Hildesheim 1971). Die Blasinstrumente aus der “Harmonie universelle” des Martin Mersenne (Celle 1987). Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Sciences 28 (1949) pp. • Hellmut Ludwig. “Infinite degrees of speed. M. Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza 13 (1971) pp. 135-163. • D. Dhombres. Palmerino. Sudhoffs Archiv 58 (1974) pp. J. “A propos du tricentenaire de la mort de Mersenne”.

E. http://www-groups. • J. O’Connor. • http://www.htm (27 August 2007).P.F.J. Philosophisches W¨ orterbuch (Stuttgart 1951) p. com ) 7 Mersenne as a reader of Galilean ’experience”’.st-and. 381.ac. • J. De reis van Marin Mersenne in de Nederlanden (1630) (Bruxelles 1964).php (27 August 2007).Copyright c by Stochastikon GmbH (http: // encyclopedia. • Albrecht D. Lexikon f¨ ur Theologie und Kirche 7 (Freiburg 1986) col. stochastikon. Mersenne (1736).dcs. • Ferdinand Sassen. Nuncius 23 (2008) pp.00 .ac.uk/ history/References/Mersenne. Robertson.).uk/ history/Mathematicians/Mersenne. • J.F. Author(s) of this contribution: Claudia von Collani Version: 1. Stoll.ch/mathematiker/mersenne. • Gilles Personne de Robervalle.dcs.J. O’Connor. 7-36. Figur und Affekt: zur h¨ ofischen Musik und zur b¨ urgerlichen Musiktheorie der Epoche Richelieu (Tutzing 1981).st-and. • Justus Streller (ed. Robertson. Epistola Aegidii Personerii De Robervalle ad R. “Mersenne”. http://www-groups. E.mathematik. 314. Wilhelm.htm (27 August 2007).