René DescartesPhilosopher / Mathematician
Born: 31 March 1596
Died: 11 February 1650 (lung trouble)
Birthplace: La Haye, France
Best known as: The philosopher who said "I think, therefore I am"
René Descartes is often called the father of modern science. He established a new, clear way of thinking about philosophy and science by rejecting all ideas based on assumptions or emotional beliefs and accepting only those ideas which could be proved by or systematically deduced from direct observation. He took as his philosophical starting point the statement Cogito ergo sum -- "I think, therefore I am." Descartes made major contributions to modern mathematics, especially in developing the Cartesian coordinate system and advancing the theory of equations.
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