Descartes's Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the UniverseRené 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 mindbody problem, while his creation of socalled Cartesian coordinates has made our 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 of all time, moved to Paris in search of this notebook–and eventually found it in the possession of Claude Clerselier, a friend of Descartes’s. Liebniz 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. Liebniz’s hastily scribbled notes are all we have today of Descartes’s notebook. Why did Descartes keep a secret notebook, and what were its contents? The answers to these questions will lead the reader on an exciting, swashbuckling journey, and offer a fascinating look at one of the great figures of Western culture. From the Hardcover edition. 
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Review: Descartes's Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe
User Review  Dan Armstrong  GoodreadsThis was a curious book, somewhat interesting, but too much supposition. Read full review
Review: Descartes's Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe
User Review  Stephen Hackney  GoodreadsAmir Aczel writes in a rich, informative manner. The author is thoroughly well versed in the history of his subject. In being so, the author is able to deliver to the reader the historical connections ... Read full review
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