Cartesian coordinate system
Cartesian means relating to the French mathematician and philosopher
Descartes, who, among other things, worked to merge algebra and
geometry. This work was influential in the development of analytic geometry,
calculus, and cartography.
The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes.
In Discourse on Method, in part two, he introduces the new idea of specifying
the position of a point or object on a surface, using two intersecting axes as
measuring guides. In La Gï¿½omï¿½trie, he further explores the above-mentioned
In analytic geometry the Cartesian coordinate system is the foundation for
the algebraic manipulation of geometrical shapes. Many other coordinate systems
have been developed since Descartes. One common set of systems use polar
coordinates; astronomers often use spherical coordinates, a type of polar
coordinate system. In different branches of mathematics coordinate systems can
be transformed, translated, rotated, and re-defined altogether to simplify
calculation and for specialized ends.
It may be interesting to note that some have indicated that the master
artists of the Renaissance used a grid, in the form of a wire mesh, as a tool
for breaking up the component parts of their subjects they painted--a trade