The term "Cartesian" is used to refer to anything that derives from René Descartes' conception of geometry (1637), which is based on the representation of points in the plane by ordered pairs of real numbers, the so-called Cartesian coordinates. In this way, the plane is identified with R^2=R×R, which is a Cartesian product of sets, Euclidean space is identified with R^3=R×R×R, and so on.

Descartes' idea allows geometric relations to be expressed by means of algebraic equalities (Cartesian equations), giving rise to what is nowadays known as analytic geometry.

See also

Cartesian Coordinates, Cartesian Curve, Cartesian Equation, Cartesian Geometry, Cartesian Ovals, Cartesian Pattern, Cartesian Plane, Trident of Descartes

This entry contributed by Margherita Barile

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Latham, M. L. and Smith, D. E. The Geometry of René Descartes, with a Facsimile of the First Edition, 1637. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1952.

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Cite this as:

Barile, Margherita. "Cartesian." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource, created by Eric W. Weisstein.

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