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Who invented the Cartesian plane?

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Quick Answer

The French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes invented the Cartesian plane in the 17th century. The name Cartesian is derived from Descartes' own name.

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Rene Descartes is recognized as the inventor of analytic geometry, which is a way of visualizing algebraic functions. Descartes' ideas about geometry, including the Cartesian plane, were published in the 1637 treatise "La geometrie." According to the University of Alabama at Little Rock, a popular myth holds that Descartes developed the theory behind the Cartesian plane while watching a fly crawl around on the ceiling above his bed. Though Descartes accomplished a lot in his lifetime, it is said that he never got out of bed before 11 a.m., giving him plenty of time to sit in bed and develop useful theories.

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