**Selected Lectures**

1992;

MSC: Primary 01;

**Print ISBN: 978-0-8218-8069-2
Product Code: VIDEO/73**

List Price: $49.95

AMS Member Price: $39.96

# Descartes and Problem Solving

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*Judith Grabiner*

This videotape captures a lively, vivid, and
meticulously researched lecture by the noted mathematical historian
Judith Grabiner. In looking at Descartes' approach to problem
solving, Grabiner brings into focus his general philosophy that, unless
one has method, one will never discover anything useful. His general
method was to reduce a geometric problem to an algebraic one and
then construct a curve that solves the algebraic problem.
Grabiner demonstrates how Descartes used this method in a particular
situation. Connecting this mode of thinking to the history that
preceded Descartes, she shows how he combined, extended, and exploited
earlier methods.

The lecture is accessible to undergraduates with an
interest in mathematics and would make a fine supplement to a course
in mathematics or mathematics history.