Rene Descartes and Isaac Beeckman

Rene Descartes and Isaac Beeckman

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Caption: Rene Descartes and Isaac Beeckman. Historical engraving of the French mathematician & philosopher Rene Descartes (1596- 1650, centre), solving a problem posed to him by the Dutch philospher Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637, right). Descartes was stationed with the French army in the Dutch town of Breda in 1617, where it was the custom to post philosophical questions on the town walls. He asked Beeckman, the head of a local college, to translate one of these problems into Latin or French. To Beeckman's surprise, Descartes immediately solved it. Descartes (centre) coined the phrase 'I think therefore I am' and made major advances in algebra & geometry.

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