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

ISBN-10: 0767920341

ISBN-13: 9780767920346

Edition: N/A

Authors: Amir D. Aczel
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Description: Rene 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.

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Book details

List price: $16.00
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

Amir D. Aczel, Ph.D., his work has been translated into Turkish, Hebrew, French, German, italian, Chinese and Spanish. An internationally known mathematician, he lives in the Boston area.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Prologue: Leibniz's Search in Paris
The Gardens of Touraine
Jesuit Mathematics and the Pleasures of the Capital
The Dutch Puzzle
Three Dreams in an Oven by the Danube
The Athenians Are Vexed by a Persistent Ancient Plague
The Meeting with Faulhaber and the Battle of Prague
The Brotherhood
Swords at Sea and a Meeting in the Marais
Descartes and the Rosicrucians
Italian Creations
A Duel at Orleans, and the Siege of La Rochelle
The Move to Holland and the Ghost of Galileo
A Secret Affair
Descartes' Philosophy and the Discourse on the Method
Descartes Understands the Ancient Delian Mystery
Princess Elizabeth
The Intrigues of Utrecht
The Call of the Queen
The Mysterious Death of Descartes
Leibniz's Quest for Descartes' Secret
Leibniz Breaks Descartes' Code and Solves the Mystery
A Twenty-First-Century Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Illustration Credits
Index
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