Portrait of the French mathematician, philosopher and physiologist Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Living on his modest inherited wealth, Descartes traveled, studied, wrote, and served as a soldier in Holland, Bohemia and Hungary. He created analytical geometry, which translates geometrical problems into algebraic form so that algebraic methods can be applied to their solution. Conversely he applied geometry to algebra. He propounded Cartesian dualism, stating that mind and matter are two distinct substances which can interact. He believed that god is the prime mover of matter, and that everything has a cause. Descartes died soon after becoming tutor to queen Christina of Sweden.
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