Niceron, John Francis

, an able mathematician, was born at Paris in 1613. Having finished his academical studies with the most promising success, he entered into the order of Minims, took the habit in 1632, and as usual, changed the name given him at his baptism for that of Francis, the name of his paternal uncle, who was also a Minim, or Franciscan. The inclination which he had for mathematics appeared early during his philosophical studies; and he devoted to this science all the time he could spare from his other employments, after he had completed his studies in theology. Ah the branches of the mathematics, however, did not equally engage his attention; he confined himself particularly to optics, and studied the rest only as they were subservient to his more favourite pursuit. | He informs us in the preface to his “Thaumaturgus Opticus,” that he went twice to Rome; and that, on his return home, he was appointed teacher of theology. He was afterwards chosen to accompany father Francis de la Noue, vica^r-general of the order, in his visitation of the convents throughout all France. Amidst so many employments, it is wonderful that he found so much time to study, for his life was short, and must have been laborious. Being taken sick at Aix, in Provence, he died there, September 22, 1646, aged only thirty-three. He was an intimate acquaintance of Des Cartes, who had a high esteem for him, and presented him with his works. Niceron’s writings are, 1. “L’Interpretation des Chiffres, ou Regies pour bien entendre et expliquer facilement toutes sortes des Chiffres Simples,” &c. Paris, 1641, 8vo. This was only a translation oh the art of decyphering, written by Cospi in Italian, but is much improved by Niceron, who justly conceived it to be a work of utility. 2. “La Perspective curieuse, ou Magie artificielle des effets marveilleux de l’Optique, Catroptique, et Dioptrique,” intended as an introduction to his, 3. “Thaumaturgus Opticus: sive, Admiranda Optices, Catoptrices, et Dioptrices, Pars prima, &c.1646, fol. He intended to add two other parts, but was prevented by death. 1


Niceron, vol. VII and X.—Chaufepie.Moreri.