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Why Do We Use Coordinate Geometry?. Euclid’s Elements (about 300 B.C.). http://www.claymath.org/euclid/. Euclidean Geometry. Euclid was a Greek philosopher (c. 330 BC to 275 BC) Euclidean geometry analyses shapes like points, lines, and circles

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euclid s elements about 300 b c
Euclid’s Elements (about 300 B.C.)


euclidean geometry
Euclidean Geometry
  • Euclid was a Greek philosopher(c. 330 BC to 275 BC)
  • Euclidean geometry analyses shapes like points, lines, and circles
  • These figures are described relative to one another
  • There are no absolute locations (coordinates) and no algebra
ren descartes
René Descartes
  • René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer
  • Called “The Founder of Modern Philosophy”
  • Also called “The Father of Modern Mathematics”
cartesian coordinates
Cartesian Coordinates

Descartes used algebra to describe points, lines, and circles geometrically using a coordinate system

descartes and calculus
Descartes and Calculus
  • Isaac Newton’s (1643-1727) invention of the calculusdepended on Cartesian coordinates
  • Calculus is basically the description of change
  • Example: For this parabola y = x2, the slope of the tangent line at any point P is y = 2x

y = x2

implications of newton
Implications of Newton
  • Descartes’, Newton, and others thought that the universe could be completely described with mathematics
  • All are but parts of one stupendous whole,Whose body Nature is, and God the soulAlexander Pope (1688-1744)
the clockwork universe theory
The Clockwork Universe Theory
  • Supposed that God originally created the world by putting matter into motion according to certain laws
  • Time took care of the rest
  • Everything was matter in motion


a broken clock
A Broken Clock
  • The Clockwork Universe unraveled in the 20th century
  • The theory of quantum physics says that the universe consist of particles that behave statistically like dice, not predictably like a clock
computer models use coordinate geometry
Computer Models Use Coordinate Geometry
  • Computer models are widely used in
    • engineering
    • computer games
    • computer music
    • astrophysics
math heros
Math Heros
  • What’s a hero?
  • What’s a math hero?

©Jen Sorensen

math heros1
Math Heros
  • Dr. Albert Einstein(1879 - 1955)
  • Dr. Stephen Hawking(1942 - )
  • Professor Lee Lorch(1915 – present )
professor lee lorch
Professor Lee Lorch
  • Took real risks helping African American women get their PhD’s in mathematics during the 1950’s and 1960’s
  • Not a famous mathematician

..at 91, this gentle scholar can recall every racist rule he ever tackled: the "No-Negroes" housing complex where he pushed to have blacks made welcome; the all-white math conferences to which he insisted on bringing black professors; the all-black grade school where he tried to enroll his daughter….These fights lost him a string of jobs and in time got him blacklisted altogether for the "un-American" activity of championing racial equality, driving him to leave his homeland for Canada where he was in fierce demand as a math whiz.

The Toronto Star, Jan 15, 2007