Descartes, René (1596 – 1650)

A French mathematician, physicist and philosopher. After studying at the Jesuit school in La Flèche, Descartes became a soldier, crossing Europe and settling in Holland in 1629. On a scientific level, he simplified mathematical writing, developed analytical geometry, and discovered the laws of light refraction. He is most well-known for having defined a deductive method that leads from doubt to certainty (Discours de la Méthode, 1637).