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ARTS AND SCIENCES;
AN ACCURATE AND POPULAR VIEW
OF THE PRESENT
IMPROVED STATE OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.
BY WILLIAM NICHOLSON,
Author and Proprietor of the Philosophical Journal, and various other Chemical, Philosophical, and
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NIC NI TICERON (JOHN FRANCIS), in bio. to the republic of letters. He was the au
graphy, a French monk and ingenious thor of the following works, which are held fathematician in the seventeenth century, in high estimation.“ The Interpretation was bom at Paris, in the year 1613. He early of Cyphers, or, a Rule for the perfect Une displayed a love of learning, and by the pro. derstanding and certain Explanation of all gress which he made in his elementary stu. Kinds of simple Cyphers, taken from the dies, afforded fair promise of future excel. Italian of the Sieur Anthony Maria Cospi, lence. At the age of nineteen he entered secretary to the Grand Duke of Tuscany ; into the order of Minims, and before he had enlarged, and particularly accommodated gone through his course of philosophy, disco. to the French and Spanish Languages," vered that his predominant inclination was 1641, octavo ; “ Curious Perspective, or to the study of mathematical sciences, to artificial Magic, produced by the wonderful which, after he had completed his theologi. Effects of Optics, Catoptrics, and Diopcal course, he devoted all the time that was trics,” &c. 1638, folio ; which was only innot necessarily occupied by the daties of troductory to his “ Thaumaturgus Opticus, his profession. The science of optics was sive, admirandæ Optices, Catoptrices, et what principally engaged his attention ; Dioptrices, Pars prima, de iis quæ spectant and be left behind him, in different houses ad visionem directam," 1646, folio. On this belonging to his order, particularly that at work he was employed six years, and was Paris, some excellent performances, which prevented by his death from proceeding to afforded satisfactory evidence of his pro- the completion of the intended second and found skill in this branch of the mathema. third parts, relating to the effects of reflec. ties. He was twice sent on business to tion from plane, cylindrical, and conical Rome, and was appointed regent of the phi- mirrors, and the refraction of crystals. This losophical classes. Afterwards he was no- task his friend father Mersenne undertook, minated to accompany father Francis de la not only by correcting what Niceron's Noue, vicar-general of the order, in his visi. papers in Latin and French would furnish tation of all the convents of Minims in towards it, but by supplying what might France. The similarity of their taste proved be necessary to perfect it. But the other the means of introducing him to the ac- occupations of this learned mathematician, quaintance of Des Cartes, whio entertained during the two remaining years of his own a great regard for him, and made him a life, prevented him from finishing the work, present of his “ Principles of Philosophy.” which, upon his death, was committed for Their intimacy, however, which commenced that purpose to M. de Roberval, professor in 1644, proved but of short duration, since royal of mathematics at Paris. A “ Letter” or young monk fell sick at Aix in Provence, of Father Niceron's is inserted in the third and died there in the autumn of 1646, when volume of Liceto's “ De quæsitis per Epis. he was only thirty-three years of age. This tolas." event was lamented as a considerable loss NICHE, in architecture, a bollow sunk VOL. V.