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Rene Descartes

Published on Nov 18, 2015

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"I Think, Therefore I Am."
Photo by monsieurlam


  • René Descartes was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye, France, and died on February 11, 1650, in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • He was the youngest of three children, and his mother died when he was one.
  • His father sent him to a boarding school at Jesuit College of Henri IV at age 8.
  • Descartes is mostly known for his famous quote: "I think, therefore I am."
  • He was a French philosopher, Scientist, and a Mathematician.


  • His works were created from his idea "Cogito, ergo sum.", which means, "I think, therefore I am."
  • In 1618, he was a student of mathematics and military architecture.
  • He was influenced by physicist Isaac Beeckman in his studies of mathematics and science.
  • He created a method of deductive reasoning for all sciences based on mathematics.


  • Life span- March,1596-February,1650.
  • Early education started at Jesuit College of Henri IV at age 8 thru 15.
  • Age 15 thru 22 studied Law at the University of Poiters.
  • Age 22, after graduating from the University of Poiters, he had visions that
  • -determined the course of his study for the rest of his life.


  • 1616-1629 Early mathematical researches
  • 1628 Moved to the Netherlands.
  • 1635 Daughter Francine was born. She died 5 years later from a fever.
  • 1637 Wrote "La Géométrie"


  • La Haye, Touraine, France - birthplace
  • Stockholm, Sweden - residence at time of death
  • Chatellerault and Poiters - location of Father's farms and houses
  • Le Flèche, France - Studies
  • Northern & Southern Europe - travelled 1619 to 1628


  • Bohemia, Czech Republic - invented "analytic geometry" -1619
  • Paris, France - moved here in 1622
  • Netherlands - spent last 22 years of his life here after leaving Paris.


  • Great influence in his study of mathematics was Isaac Beeckman
  • Beeckman engaged Descartes in thinking of the problems between
  • -"falling bodies, physic-Mathematica and mathematical problems.
  • Discovered theories and ideas during his studies with Beeckman that would
  • -make analytic geometry possible.


  • He felt that geometry was the basic mathematical science
  • -with algebraic formulas as an option for calculations that were too difficult
  • -using a compass and ruler.
  • Nineteenth century algebraic geometry became "Cartesian coordinates"; in honor of his
  • -discovery.


  • Descartes explains "how" in his introduction in La Géométrie:
  • "Any problem in geometry can be easily reduced to such terms that a
  • -knowledge of the length of certain straight lines is sufficient for construction."
  • Defined a unit of length and created procedures for adding, subtracting, multiplying and
  • -dividing line segments and for graphically figuring out root segments.


  • Geometric problems could be expressed in algebraic terms
  • --using a vertical axis, "a" and a horizontal axis, "b"
  • Told Beeckman that there is no problem in geometry can't be expressed using
  • -axis, lines and curves; such as lower a,b,c for known quantities and x,y,z
  • --and lowercase x,y, and z for unknown quantities