Roger Bacon, OFM (/ˈbeɪkən/; c. 1214 – June 1292?; scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis, meaning "wonderful teacher"), was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. He is sometimes credited (mainly since the nineteenth century) as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle and later Arabic scholars such as the Muslim scientist Alhazen. However, more recent re-evaluations emphasise that he was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his "experimental" knowledge obtained from books, in the scholastic tradition. A survey of how Bacon's work was received over the centuries found that it often reflected the concerns and controversies that were central to his readers.
Roger Bacon was born in Ilchester in Somerset, England, possibly in 1213 or 1214 at the Ilchester Friary. The only source for his birth date is his statement in the Opus Tertium, written in 1267, that "forty years have passed since I first learned the alphabet". The 1214 birth date assumes he meant exactly 40 years had passed since he matriculated at Oxford at age 13. If he had been literal, it is more likely he was born around 1220 to 1222, but the figure forty was also widely used in the Middle Ages simply as a synonym for many, leaving his actual date of birth in doubt. In the same passage he said that for all but two of the forty years he had been engaged in study. His family appears to have been well-off, but during the stormy reign of Henry III of England their property was seized and several family members driven into exile.