Nostradamus was a French physician and astrologer who dabbled in prophecy. His volume Centuries, a big set of vague and often cataclysmic predictions set in quatrains, made quite a sensation in his day. (Charles IX even made him court physician.) A few people continue to believe that Nostradamus really could predict events of the future, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in September of 2001. In truth, there is no real proof that Nostradamus could accurately predict the future, and many of the circulating "predictions" attributed to Nostradamus were not even written by him at all.
Nostradamus is a Latin rendering of his given name, Michel de Notredame.