Today's post is another “Look! Catholic dude does science!” article:
Of course one can't help noticing things like this:
Furthermore, he “established that the intensity of sound, like that of light, is inversely proportional to the distance from its source.”
This quote is cited to the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, which does indeed have those words, but of course anyone who knows even the first thing about either sound or light knows that it is incorrect. Consulting the original source—Mersenne's Harmonicorum libri XII, book 2, proposition 39—seems to show that Mersenne did indeed have it as the inverse square, not the inverse, assuming I'm correctly construing his Latin in spite of the rather dubious assistance of Google Translate; he states that a quadrupling of the intensity of the source would double the distance at which the sound could be heard.
Score Mersenne 1, biographers and theologians 0.