Rene Descartes, a man of mathematical discovery. Descartes was a trailblazer during his time and a key figure during the Science Revolution of the 17th Century.  His original and unique ideas of philosophy led to intense opposition from the Catholic Church in his time.  His famous quote, “Cogito ergo sum” (Descartes,1637), translated means, I think, therefore I am, speaks for itself. His work and writings in philosophy are still being studied to this day.

After spending a night in a warm room to escape the cold, Descartes had three dreams.  These dreams enlightened him to formulate analytical geometry.  This discovery ending up being one of his life’s most defining work.  He had just developed a way to use algebra to describe geometry.  He introduced using x, y, and z to stand for unknown quantities, and a, b, and c as known quantities.  Today we call this the standard algebraic notation. On top of developing the standard algebraic notation, he also showed that you can use superscripts to stand for exponents.  Descartes greatest math achievement was the use of x and y-axes to describe numbers on a plane, known as the Cartesian coordinates.  Cartesian coordinates describe the position of a point in two dimensions by giving its horizontal and vertical locations. Allowing a series of points derived from an algebraic equation.

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The things he did for math just amazes me. How could one man carry out so much in one lifetime? His work has also opened doors to possibilities for others. Such examples as Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz.  Descartes work helped them develop the basis for calculus. His work with analytic geometry and Cartesian coordinates, inspired people to become mathematicians.  His concepts that transformed mathematics as we know it to be today. As being known as the father of philosophy it is truly certain. His work is outstanding and if it was not for his ideas and free-form thinking we would not be where we are today in mathematics.

 

References:

René Descartes. (2017, November 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:15, December 1, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ren%C3%A9_Descartes=812647474

Watson, Richard (2017, June 19). Rene Descartes. Retrieved 03:15, December 1, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rene-Descartes