Sir Francis Bacon held several of the highest state positions in England, as well influencing the fields of science and philosophy. He challenged the thinking of the day and developed concepts that lived on long after his death.
Bacon was born in 1561 into the British upper classes. He studied at Cambridge and then became a member of parliament in his early 20s. He held many of his highest posts under the reign of King James I, who took the throne in 1603. For a start, he was knighted, becoming Sir Francis Bacon. He also held several positions during the course of his political career. This included: Keeper of the Great Seal, one of the highest offices of the English state; Attorney General, the main legal advisor to the monarch; and Lord Chancellor, another of the highest offices of state
It was in the field of science that Bacon challenged the status quo. He argued that learning in science required study and evidence from the real world. Up to then, learned men in England believed scientific truths could be discovered through intellectual argument alone. Bacon's theory became the basis for scientific inquiry and advancement as it is known today.
His career ended in disgrace after he was imprisoned for accepting bribes. He died several years after his release from jail, in 1626.