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Nicolas Fatio de Duillier

Swiss mathematician

Died when: 89 years 75 days (1070 months)
Star Sign: Pisces

 

Nicolas Fatio de Duillier

Nicolas Fatio de Duillier (also spelled Faccio or Facio; 16 February 1664 – 10 May 1753) was a mathematician, natural philosopher, astronomer, inventor, and religious campaigner.

Born in Basel, Switzerland, Fatio mostly grew up in the then-independent Republic of Geneva, before spending much of his adult life in England and Holland.

Fatio is known for his collaboration with Giovanni Domenico Cassini on the correct explanation of the astronomical phenomenon of zodiacal light, for inventing the "push" or "shadow" theory of gravitation, for his close association with both Christiaan Huygens and Isaac Newton, and for his role in the Leibniz–Newton calculus controversy.

He also invented and developed the first method for fabricating jewel bearings for mechanical watches and clocks.Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London at the age of 24, Fatio never achieved the position and reputation that his early achievements and connections had promised.

In 1706 he became involved with a millenarian religious sect, known in London as the "French prophets", and the following year he was sentenced to the pillory for sedition over his role in the publication of the prophecies of Élie Marion, the leader of that sect.

Fatio travelled with the French prophets as a missionary, going as far as Smyrna before returning to Holland in 1713, and finally settling in England.

His extreme religious views harmed his intellectual reputation, but Fatio continued to pursue technological, scientific, and theological researches until his death at the age of 89.


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