Root, Enoch: a traveling salesman and clergyman, born between 1590 and 1610, probably in Germany.*

In his youth, Root acquired knowledge of arithmetic, chemistry, and pharmaceutics; he later added cryptography. By the beginning of the 18th century he had traveled extensively back and forth between Germany, England, Italy, the Netherlands, India, Japan, Australia, the Solomon Islands, and the British colonies in North America. His tracks become hard to trace after 1714, but he probably remained in North America. From 1941 to 1945 he was employed as chaplain for the US Army. The reason for his unnatural longevity is unknown, though some biographers have linked it to his comprehensive pharmaceutical knowledge. Enoch Root currently enjoys a reclusive life in the Philippines but can be reached via email.

* S. Neil Stephenson, Quicksilver, HarperCollins 2003. Though Stephenson erroneously assumed him to have a much earlier birth date, Root himself gives us a hint with the following remark: "Where I grew up, memorizing the digits of pi was the closest thing we had to entertainment."** The first formula to compute indefinitely many digits of pi was established in 1593 by François Viète. Prior to that time, memorizing digits of pi would have had only minor entertainment value.

** Cryptonomicon, Eos 1999

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