Articles

Nicole d'Oresme


One of the most original thinkers of the 14th century, Frenchman Nicole d'Oresme (1323-1382) was an economist, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, philosopher, psychologist, and musicologist. He also studied theology in Paris, later becoming chief financial officer of the University of Paris, then canon and finally Rouen's religious supervisor. In 1370, he was appointed minister to King Charles V and advised him on financial matters.

Oresme invented coordinate geometry before Descartes, finding the logical equivalence between tabulating values ​​and graphing them. He proposed using a graph to represent a variable magnitude that depended on another. It is possible that Descartes was influenced by Oresme's work, as he was reprinted several times over the 100 years after his first publication.

Another work by Oresme also contains the first use of fractional exponents, logically without modern notation. Oresme also worked with infinite series.

Moreover, it demonstrated that the reasons proposed by Aristotelian physics against the motion of planet Earth were not valid and invoked the argument of simplicity (occam's razor) in favor of the theory that it is the earth that moves, not the celestial bodies. . In general, Oresme's argument for land movement is more explicit and much clearer than that given centuries later by Copernicus.

Among other prowess, Oresme was the discoverer of the curvature of light through atmospheric refraction; although to this day credit has been given to Robert Hooke.