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Nicholas of Cusa (1401-64)
  1. L F HAAS

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    Nicholas of Cusa was born in 1401 at Kues (Cusa) which is now in West Germany. He obtained an LLD in 1423 and became a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Nicholas was a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician. In his most lasting workDe Docta Ignorantia (on learned ignorance)published in 1440, he argued against the possibility of definitive knowledge. He made discoveries in astronomy and botany and was said to have been the first to record the use of concave lenses to correct visual defects for the near sighted, thus paving the way for development of modern optometry and the manufacture of spectacles. Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) who appeared earlier in this series (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry1993;56:5) invented bifocal lenses.

     Nicholas of Cusa was portrayed philatelically in 1984 by Transkei in that country's third set of Heroes of Medicine series (Stanley Gibbons 160, Scott 105).

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