Rene Descartes Facts

Rene Descartes Facts
René Descartes (March 31, 1596 to February 11, 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician and writer. His writings on philosophy continue to influence Western thought and his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. He is considered the founder of analytical geometry and the Cartesian coordinate system was named for him.
Interesting Rene Descartes Facts:
Rene Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine, France.
Because his mother died when he was one year old, he lived with his grandmother and great-uncle.
In 1607 he entered the Jesuit College Royal Henry-Le-Grand where he studied mathematics, physics and astronomy.
In 1616 he earned a Baccalaureate in Law from the University of Poitiers.
Descartes himself wrote, "I abandoned the study of letters. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling..."
In 1618 Descartes joined the Dutch States Army and studied military engineering.
Descartes became acquainted with Tycho Brahe in Prague and Johannes Kepler in Regensburg
Around 1628 he started a treatise on the proper method for scientific and philosophical thinking which he called, Rules for the Direction of the Mind.
Descartes moved frequently and studied or worked at several universities including the University of Franeker in 1629.
In 1630 he moved to Leiden University where he studied mathematics and astronomy.
During his twenty years in the Netherlands, Descartes published numerous works on philosophy and mathematics.
In or about 1637 he wrote Discourse of the Mind which was an attempt to discover the fundamental principles that can be known as true without any doubt.
His first principle was that thought exists and since thought cannot be separated from the person, the person exists.
It was in 1641 that he wrote Meditations on First Philosophy.
In 1644 he followed that with Principles of Philosophy.
He made great contributions to the field of mathematics and was the creator of analytic geometry.
He was the first to represent unknowns by x, y, and z and knowns by b and c.
Descartes created the standard notation of using superscripts for exponents.
Descartes work was foundational to the later development of calculus by Newton and Leibniz.
In 1649 he was invited by Queen Christina of Sweden to organize a scientific academy and to become her tutor.
She helped him publish "Passions of the Soul" which was based on his long correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia.
It was there that he used a barometer to see if atmospheric pressure was a good indicator for weather forecasting.
He died in Stockholm from pneumonia.


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