Rene Descartes (1596-1650) was a French mathematician and philosopher. He believed that commonly accepted knowledge was doubtful because of the subjective nature of the senses, and attempted to rebuild human knowledge using as foundation 'cogito ergo sum' ('I think, therefore I am').
He also believed that the entire material universe could be explained in terms of mathematical physics. He is regarded as the discoverer of analytical geometry and the founder of the science of optics. He was also influential in shaping contemporary theories of astronomy and animal behaviour.
Descartes was born near Tours. He served in the army of Prince Maurice of Orange, and in 1619, while travelling through Europe, decided to apply the methods of mathematics to metaphysics
and science. He settled in the Netherlands in 1628, where he was more likely to be free from interference by the ecclesiastical authorities.
In 1649 he visited the court of Queen Christina of Sweden, and died in Stockholm.
His works include Discourse on Method in 1637, Meditations on the First Philosophy 1641, and Principles of Philosophy in 1644, and numerous books on physiology, optics, and geometry.
Coordinate geometry, as a way of defining and manipulating geometrical shapes by means of algebraic expressions, was determined by Leibniz, and only later called Cartesian coordinates in honour of Descartes.
Why is Rene Descartes famous?
Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and writer.