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Descartes's Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe

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Descartes's Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe Cover

ISBN13: 9780767920346
ISBN10: 0767920341
Condition: Standard
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René Descartes (1596–1650) is one of the towering and central figures in Western philosophy and mathematics. His apothegm “Cogito, ergo sum” marked the birth of the mind-body problem, while his creation of so-called Cartesian coordinates have made our physical and intellectual conquest of physical space possible.

But Descartes had a mysterious and mystical side, as well. Almost certainly a member of the occult brotherhood of the Rosicrucians, he kept a secret notebook, now lost, most of which was written in code. After Descartes’s death, Gottfried Leibniz, inventor of calculus and one of the greatest mathematicians in history, moved to Paris in search of this notebook; and eventually found it in the possession of Claude Clerselier, a friend of Descartes. Leibniz called on Clerselier and was allowed to copy only a couple of pages which, though written in code, he amazingly deciphered there on the spot. Leibniz’s hastily scribbled notes are all we have today of Descartes’s notebook, which has disappeared.

Why did Descartes keep a secret notebook, and what were its contents? The answers to these questions lead Amir Aczel and the reader on an exciting, swashbuckling journey, and offer a fascinating look at one of the great figures of Western culture.

About the Author

AMIR D. ACZEL is the author of many research articles on mathematics, two textbooks, and nine nonfiction books, including the international bestseller Fermat's Last Theorem, which was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Award. Aczel has appeared on over thirty television programs, including nationwide appearances on CNN, CNBC, and Nightline, and on over a hundred radio programs, including NPR's Weekend Edition and Morning Edition. Aczel is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

From the Hardcover edition.

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chess player, January 9, 2012 (view all comments by chess player)
A fascinating account of the interesting life of the famous philosopher and mathematician.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780767920346
Author:
Aczel, Amir D.
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Author:
Aczel, Amir D., PH.D.
Subject:
Philosophers
Subject:
History -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
History
Subject:
17th century
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
October 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 LINEART AND HALFTONE INTERIOR ART PIE
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.98x5.32x.62 in. .48 lbs.

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