Denis Papin (August 22, 1647 - c.1712) was a French physicist, mathematician and inventor.
He was born in Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France. A brilliant student of the University at Angers, he became a mathematician and physicist, best known for his pioneering work with steam power.
In 1679, Papin invented the "steam digester", a type of pressure cooker. Observing the mechanical power of compressed steam, he went on to build a model of a piston steam engine. His ideas were later developed into a practical engine by Thomas Savery and his successors.
A Huguenot, Papin's life was greatly affected by the increasing restrictions placed on Protestants by Louis XIV of France and the King's ultimate revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Denis Papin fled to London where the last evidence of his whereabouts was a letter he wrote dated January 23, 1712. At the time he was destitute and it is believed he died that year and was buried in an unmarked pauper's pit.
Further, from a different source: Several of Papins' papers were put before the Royal Society between 1707 and 1712 without acknowledging or paying him, about which he complained bitterly. Papins ideas included a description from 20 years earlier of an atmospheric steam engine, the likes of which was built and put into use by Newcomen in 1712, coincidentally thought to be the year of Papins death. Although there is no evidence of foul play, political and religeous intrigue plagued the science of the day, as well as personal rivalries. Papin was a friend of Leibniz, which placed him at odds with (Royal Sociaty President) Isaac Newton. Had the ideas and models regarding high pressure steam power developed by Papin and Leibniz and received funding and political support, the steam revolution would have been advanced 75 years: a full three generations.
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