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Word Count: 745
This one thing analytic geometry is of the highest order of excellence marked by the sensuous simplicity of the half dozen or so greatest contributions of all time to mathematics Descartes remade geometry and made modern geometry possible Rene Descartes was the third child of a well off noble family His mother died a few days after his birth and he was a frail child Because of this poor health his father mostly let Ren do as he wished but at the age of 8 he was sent to a Jesuit college for formal schooling in the classics The rector of the school was sensitive to the boys health and allowed Descartes to stay in bed until he felt ready to attend class Descartes used these quiet mornings to think and later in life he said that they were the real source of his philosophy and mathematics By 18 Descartes was quite healthy and he left school to begin leading the life of a gentleman in Paris He seems to have found wine women and gambling amusing for awhile but he soon retired to a quiet suburb for 2 years to think When his wilder friends finally found him he decided to find another quiet place -- a war in Germany On November 10 1619 while the army was at its winter quarters near the Danube Descartes had the most remarkable dream in the history of science He reported a number of episodes in the dream and one of them is usually believed to be the application of algebra to geometry and the beginning of analytic and coordinate geometry Descartes remained a soldier for another 2 years and was even offered a lieutenant generalship He then retired to Paris to think about the problems of What can we know and How can we know it His first knowable fact was that of is own existence Cogito ergo sum I think therefore I am Until
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