Numbers in geometry

In ancient Greece the Pythagoreans considered the role of numbers in geometry. However, the discovery of incommensurable lengths, which contradicted their philosophical views, made them abandon abstract numbers in favor of concrete geometric quantities, such as length and area of figures. Numbers were reintroduced into geometry in the form of coordinates by Descartes, who realized that the study of geometric shapes can be facilitated by their algebraic representation, and whom the Cartesian plane is named after. Analytic geometry applies methods of algebra to geometric questions, typically by relating geometric curves and algebraic equations. These ideas played a key role in the development of calculus in the 17th century and led to discovery of many new properties of plane curves. Modern algebraic geometry considers similar questions on a vastly more abstract level.

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