Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle
Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle. A plurality of worlds. London, 1702.
Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657 -1757) abandoned a career in law, after pleading just one case, in order to write popular accounts of science. In A Plurality of Worlds, his most celebrated work, Fontenelle wittily sets forth the astronomical systems of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Tycho Brahe. In dialogues with a marquise who questions him during evening promenades in a formal garden, he speaks of the moon and the stars, and discusses the possibility of life on Venus and Mars. Fontenelle died in Paris just one month before his 100th birthday. He attributed his longevity to the eating of strawberries.