## Marin MersenneBorn 8 Sep 1588; died 1 Sep 1648 at age 59. French mathematician, natural philosopher and theologian whose discovery of the Mersenne numbers is considered to have been a pioneering effort to derive a formula that would represent all prime numbers. Although he failed in this, his work on numbers of the form (2 p - 1), where p is prime, has been of continuing interest in the investigation of large primes. Although Mersenne numbers represent only some primes, their formula inspired great advances in the theory of numbers. He continued some of Galileo's work in acoustics and stimulated some of Galileo's own later discoveries. It is through him that Galileo's work became known outside Italy. Mersenne proposed the use of the pendulum as a timing device to Huygens, who first used it in a clock. |

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