1
$\begingroup$

In "natural life" "axis" is often used in terms of an axis of rotation. But in the mathematical sense, it's more used like a ruler. One could say an axis in "natural life" sense has something to do with rotation around the axis and in math, it's more like a translation (physical sense) in direction of the axis (position on the axis).

In German it's even more difficult to distinguigh this meanings as "axle" and "axis" are both "Achse" in german.

I suspect that René Descartes deliberately chose the name "axis" for coordinate axis?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I'm quite sure that Descartes does not call "axis" the (coordinate) axis... simply because he did not use them. $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 31 '16 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ Accoding to Tripod : "Axis occurs in English in the phrase "the Axis or Altitude of the Cone" in 1571 in A Geometricall Practise named Pantometria by Thomas Digges (1546?-1595). $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 31 '16 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ positions on the x axis are measured relative the the y axis (and vice-versa),, and they are symmetrical - rotation. $\endgroup$ – mobileink Dec 31 '16 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ Latin axis, English axle, German Achse are Indo-European cognates, and all have the same basic meaning, “point of rotation”. $\endgroup$ – fdb Jan 1 '17 at 13:47
2
$\begingroup$

The source of the use in analytic geometry seems to be from conics.

Accoding to Tripod :

Axis occurs in English in the phrase "the Axis or Altitude of the Cone" in 1571 in A Geometricall Practise named Pantometria by Leonard (c.1515 – c.1559)and Thomas Digges (1546?-1595).

As you can see into the first textbook on analytic geometry : Jan de Witt’s Elementa Curvarum Linearum Liber Secundus (1659), page 123, the latin term "axis" is always referred to conics.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.