## Descartes' 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 mind-body problem, while his creation of so-called 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. |

### What people are saying - Write a review

#### LibraryThing Review

User Review - JBD1 - LibraryThingOver-marketed for what it delivers, to be extremely kind. Aczel doesn't really get the seventeenth century, and misinterprets a fair bit of the historical background related to his subject. Probably not worth your time. Read full review

#### LibraryThing Review

User Review - jcbrunner - LibraryThingAczel has carved out a niche as a popularizer of mathematical concepts and their discoverers (pop science fast food). Descartes certainly deserves the attention but he deserves better than this book ... Read full review

### Contents

Acknowledgments ix | 1 |

The Cjardens ofTouraine | 17 |

The Dutch Puzzle | 41 |

Copyright | |

11 other sections not shown

### Other editions - View all

Descartes' Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the ... Amir D. Aczel No preview available - 2006 |

### Common terms and phrases

According to Baillet Adam and Tannery alchemy algebra ancient Greeks army Beeckman Beyssade Bohemia Brotherhood calculus Cardano Cartesian Cartesian coordinate system Catholic century Chanut CHAPTER Christian Rosenkreuz church Clerselier construct copy of Descartes cube cubic equations Daniel Mogling DESCARTES Secret hlptebook DESCARTES Secret Notebook Descartes wrote Discourse discovery dream equations Faulhaber's Fleche France French Galileo Germany Greek geometry Hanover Haye hidden Holland ideas Isaac Beeckman Italian Jesuit Johann Faulhaber Johann Kepler Kepler king knew knowledge later Latin learned Leibniz Leibniz's copy letters lived manuscripts Marin Mersenne mathe mathematician mathematics Mehl Method Monde mystery mystical November numbers octahedron Olympica Paris philosophy physics Platonic solids Poitou Prague Princess Elizabeth problems published ratebook Rene Descartes Rochelle Rosicrucians Rosy Cross scholars scientist solve Stockholm straightedge and compass Sweden Tartaglia theorem theory Touraine universe Utrecht valet Varaut Voetius Weulles writings young