Questions tagged [descartes]

René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist.

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Source of Galileo quote on curves

In George Simmons' Calculus Gems there is an interesting quote, supposedly from Galileo, pertaining to whether one can compare curved and straight lines (in length, for instance): Who is so blind as ...
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Isn't Descartes' account of refraction wrong?

In his account of refraction, which can be found for example here, Descartes compares it with the motion of a tennis ball. He says that going into a denser medium must reduce the total speed, while ...
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What are the origins of calculating the area of a v/t graph to determine displacement?

I'm curious as to the origins of thinking of displacement as the area under a v/t curve. I assume that Newton (and/or Leibniz) was already familiar with the concept and knew that calculating the area ...
276 views

Was René Descartes an arrogant man?

In a Youtube Video by author AnotherRoof, the author described Descartes as an "arrogant" person who is right, quoting the sentence "I think, therefore I am". However when I am ...
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Was not chess notation an earlier sort of Cartesian Coordinates?

I realize modern algebraic notation is fairly new but for as long as there have been recorded chess games, every square I think was referred to using two coordinates, in old descriptive notation a ...
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Exact source that Descartes had observed that $V-E+F=2$ for planar graphs

In recent literature, I have read that René Descartes had observed that $V-E+F=2$ for planar graphs. Is there any image of that page of book or article of Descartes? Seeing real page that contains the ...
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Which was the first coordinate system? And why was it used?

I've been researching the motivation behind the invention of the Cartesian Co-ordinate system. But I was wondering, which coordinate system was the first to be invented? Was it the Spherical Co-...
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Fourth powers and quartic equations before Descartes

How did mathematicians interpret quartic equations and fourth powers before Descartes propose to perform elementary arithmetic on line segments? I ask this because it seems strange to me that ...
361 views

Did Descartes leave solving the quintic as an exercise to his readers?

In this document by Jim Brown it is claimed (on Section 3, pg 5) that: [Descartes] believed that all polynomials of degree $>4$ could be solved with the same methods as had been applied to the ...
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