“Natural abilities are like natural plants; they need pruning by study.”
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (January 22, 1561 – April 9, 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author. He served both as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution. Bacon has been called “the father of empiricism.”
His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves.
While his own practical ideas about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have a long lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon the father of scientific method. This marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology today.
Bacon was generally neglected at court by Queen Elizabeth, but after the accession of King James I in 1603, Bacon was knighted. He was later created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Alban in 1621.
Because he had no heirs, both titles became extinct upon his death in 1626, at 65 years of age. Bacon died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted the condition while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.