**Birthdate:**March 31, 1596

**Sun Sign:**Aries

**Birthplace:**Descartes, France

**Died:**February 11, 1650

**Cartesian coordinate system**being named after him. His

**Meditations on First Philosophy**is still taught at many universities.

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1

René Déscartes

(French Philosopher, Mathematician and Inventor of ‘Analytic Geometry’)

René Descartes, the father of modern philosophy, laid down the idea of rationalism, later followed by Spinoza and Leibniz. Descartes also contributed to the field of analytical geometry and led to the **Cartesian coordinate system** being named after him. His **Meditations on First Philosophy** is still taught at many universities.

2

Blaise Pascal

(One of the Greatest Mathematicians of All Time Who Invented the Mechanical Calculator)

Blaise Pascal was a French physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and inventor. A child prodigy, Pascal's work on *projective geometry,* at the age of 16 is commendable. He is one of the earliest** inventors of the mechanical calculator**, which he did when he was still a teenager. His work on *probability theory* influenced the development of social science and modern economics.

3

Pierre de Fermat

(French Mathematician and Founder of the Modern Theory of Numbers)

Seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat was also a qualified lawyer. Remembered mostly for his contribution to number theory, probability, calculus, and analytic geometry, he was also known for his proficiency in six languages, including Greek and Latin. One of his major works, *Introduction to Loci*, was released posthumously.

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4

Giovanni Domenico Cassini

(Astronomer and Mathematician)

Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini is best remembered for his discovery of four moons of Saturn, the computation of Jupiter’s rotational period, and the observation of the *Cassini Division*, or the gap between Saturn’s rings. King Louis XIV made him a member of the **Académie des Sciences**.

5

Abraham de Moivre

(Mathematician, Statistician)

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6

Pierre Gassendi

(Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, Professor, Astrologer)

15

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French Catholic priest and astronomer Pierre Gassendi is remembered for his efforts to reconcile atomism with Christian ideals and for his anti-Aristotelianism. His studies included research on Epicurean philosophy. Apart from observing the transit of Mercury, he also studied the speed of sound and horizontal momentum.

7

Marin Mersenne

(French Polymath Active in the 1600s)

14

6

8

Denis Papin

(French physicist, mathematician)

12

2

Best remembered for his ground-breaking invention of the pressure cooker, Denis Papin was also the man behind the first piston steam engine, which played a major part in ushering in the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, he died a destitute and remains buried in an unmarked grave in London.

9

Pierre Vernier

(Mathematician)

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10

Antoine Arnauld

(Philosopher)

7

1

11

Girard Desargues

(French Mathematician Who was a Founder of Projective Geometry)

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1

One of the founders of projective geometry, French mathematician Girard Desargues began his career as an architect and an engineer, designing several private and public buildings in Paris and Lyon and also a project for lifting water. Eventually he became associated with a group of Parisian mathematicians and undertook researches on perspective and geometrical projections, publishing several papers on it.

12

Gilles de Roberval

(Mathematician)

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1

13

Bernard Forest de Belidor

(French Engineer)

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