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Girard Desargues ( -99999 - -99999 )  Category ( ) [suggest a correction]

Girard Desargues was born in Lyon, France on February 21, 1591. He was born into an aristocratic family. Both his mother and his father had been wealthy for several generations. The family had provided law officials to the parliament in Paris and Lyon and was very influential in French politics. He had the funds for any education he desired. Desargues made several trips into Paris to settle a lawsuit that cost the family a small fortune. Even though the family lost a huge sum of money, they still owned several mansions in Lyon along with a Château in the nearby village of Vourles with the best vineyards in the entire area. The obvious fact is that the young Desargues could afford any books or education that money could buy, and could pursue anything to his heart’s content. He was especially interested in the fine art of the great math known as geometry. His later years were filled with grand plans and constructions of elaborate creations on his property including spiral staircases and a new pump. He pioneered a new and innovative style of geometry that did not rely on the old Greek way of doing things. It was called ‘projective’ or ‘modern’ geometry. Desargues was very good as a mathematician; he was very thorough and very imaginative, inventive, and novel. The one problem with his work is that it is not really logical or coherent to the layperson with his style of math. It takes a mathematician to understand what he is saying throughout his works. He served as an engineer in the 1628 siege of La Rochelle and later became a technical advisor to Cardinal de Richelieu and the French government. While he was in Paris, he became involved in an informal group of mathematicians called the Académie Parisienne including Marin Mersenne (1588-1648), the famous Rene Descartes (1597-1650), Etienne Pascal (1588-1651), and his son, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Most of Desargues work was probably only supposed to be for the other members of this group, because they could understand the writing style he employed. Some of his works were later reproduced by Abraham Bosse (1602-1676) in a style that was more understandable for the average person. It was because of this that he became famous among the general population, because before, for the reason of his indiscernible writings, he was only known among the most intellectual mathematicians. Desargues did write on practical subjects, as opposed to his normal theoretical approach. He discussed perspective in a 1636 publication and in 1640, he wrote about the cutting of stones for the masonry industry and the fabrication of sundials. As was his way though, they were not designed for the artisans with step-by-step and verbose instructions for the execution of his theory by the general population. It was far too complex and dense for any practical application of his writings in the arts. Girard Desargues most important work appeared in 1639. In this manuscript he creates his new variety of geometry- his greatest achievement. It was titled Rough draft for an essay on the results of taking plane sections of a cone (in French, Brouillon project d’une atteinte aux evenemens des rencontres du Cone avec un Plan). A very limited number of this manuscript was printed in Paris and only one is known to survive to this day. Until that single copy was discovered in 1951, Desargues’ work was known only through the manuscript made by Philippe de la Hire (1640-1718). It was overlooked for a long time because Desargues used obscure botanical symbols instead of the more common Cartesian symbolism. Desargues has a very substantial argument of ranges of points on a line, considers involutions of six points, gives a thorough handling of cases concerning ‘infinite’ distances, then discusses conics, showing that they can be discussed in terms of properties that are invariant under projection. Out of this document comes a unified theory of conics. Another important achievement for Desargues was published by Abraham Bosse in 1648 when He published his ‘perspective theorem’. This theorem says that when two triangles are in perspective the meets of corresponding sides are collinear.

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Title :Desargues summary
Description : Girard Desargues (1591-1661)
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