Who was Thales of Miletus?

From the Wikipedia article (linked to the left of this answer under Web Links):

Thales of Miletus (pronounced tahl-es), also known as Thales the Milesian (ca. 624 BC-ca. 546 BC), was a pre-Socratic Greek-Phoenician philosopher and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition as well as the "father of science." Thales also was the first to see charges in effect. by rubbing amber with fur he had laves and feathers flying towards the amber.