By Amir D. Aczel
René Descartes (1596–1650) is likely one of the towering and primary figures in Western philosophy and arithmetic. His apothegm “Cogito, ergo sum” marked the start of the mind-body challenge, whereas his production of so-called Cartesian coordinates have made our actual and highbrow conquest of actual area possible.
But Descartes had a mysterious and mystical aspect, besides. very likely a member of the occult brotherhood of the Rosicrucians, he saved a mystery computing device, now misplaced, so much of which was once written in code. After Descartes’s demise, Gottfried Leibniz, inventor of calculus and one of many maximum mathematicians in heritage, moved to Paris looking for this notebook—and finally stumbled on it within the ownership of Claude Clerselier, a pal of Descartes. Leibniz known as on Clerselier and was once allowed to repeat just a couple of pages—which, although written in code, he amazingly deciphered there instantaneous. Leibniz’s swiftly scribbled notes are all we've got this present day of Descartes’s computing device, which has disappeared.
Why did Descartes continue a mystery computer, and what have been its contents? The solutions to those questions lead Amir Aczel and the reader on an exhilarating, swashbuckling trip, and supply a desirable examine one of many nice figures of Western tradition.