# Who created the cartesian plane?

The Cartesian plane, named after the mathematician Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650), is a plane with a rectangular coordinate system that associates each point in the plane with a pair of numbers. The basic definitions and terminology are covered in section P.5 ( p.49) of the text.

The location of a point P is determined by an ordered pair of numbers (a,b).

In mathematics, the **Cartesian coordinate system** (also called **rectangular coordinate system**) is used to determine each point uniquely in a plane through two numbers, usually called the *x-coordinate* or **abscissa** and the *y-coordinate* or **ordinate** of the point. To define the coordinates, two perpendicular directed lines (the *x-axis*, and the *y-axis*), are specified, as well as the unit length, which is marked off on the two axes (see Figure 1). Cartesian coordinate systems are also used in space (where three coordinates are used) and in higher dimensions.

Using the Cartesian coordinate system, geometric shapes (such as curves) can be described by algebraic equations, namely equations satisfied by the coordinates of the points lying on the shape. For example, the circle of radius 2 may be described by the equation x^{2} + y^{2} = 4 (see Figure 2).

**Cartesian** means relating to the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes(Latin: *Cartesius*), who, among other things, worked to merge algebra and Euclidean geometry. This work was influential in the development of analytic geometry, calculus, and cartography.

The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes and independently by Pierre de Fermat, although Fermat did not publish the discovery.^{[1]} In part two of his Discourse on Method, Descartes introduces the new idea of specifying the position of a point or object on a surface, using two intersecting axes as measuring guides.^{[citation needed]} In *La Géométrie*, he further explores the above-mentioned concepts.^{[2]}

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_plane