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Renee Descartes 1595-1650 3232001 Renee Descartes was a famous French mathematician scientist and philosopher His views about knowledge and certainty as well as his views about the relationship between mind and body have been very influential over the last three centuries Descartes was born in La Haye France on March 31 1595 He was the second of a family with two sons and one daughter Descartes family was very wealthy His father was a lawyer and he gave Descartes an annual income At the age of 8 he was sent to the Jesuit College of Le Fleche and studied there between 1606 and 1614 Descartes was permitted to lie in bed until late in the mornings this was a custom to which he always followed Descartes thought that the only way to do good work in mathematics and to preserve his health was to never allow anyone to make him get up in the morning before he felt inclined to do so On leaving school in 1612 Descartes went to Paris to be introduced to the world of fashion Here made acquaintances with two young men and together with them he devoted the next two years to the study of mathematics At that time a man of position usually entered either the army or the church Descartes chose the army and in 1617 he was joined with Prince Maurice of Orange at Breda Walking through the streets there he saw a sigh in Dutch which excited his curiosity and stopping the first passer asked him to translate in into either French or Latin The stranger who happened to be Isaac Beeckmean the head of the Dutch College at Dort offered to do so if Descartes would answer it the sigh being in fact a challenge at all the world to solve a certain geometrical problem Descartes worked it out within a few hours and a friendship between him and Beeckman was the result This
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