1.2 History  

The coordinate system we use today is a right hand coordinate system, in other words the axis intersect each other at a 90º angle.

The coordinates system’s with two axis, a two dimensional one, is normally called a Cartesian coordinate system after René Descartes.  In a Cartesian coordinate system, the axes don’t necessarily need to intersect at a 90º but normally do.  We will only work with the right hand coordinate system.

Bild: Torben Freytag
Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician who live in the 1600’s.  He laid the groundwork for what we call analytical geometry.  Analytical geometry is the study of straight lines and curves and as such needs a coordinate system in order to be able to draw these lines and curves.  Descartes wrote a book around the year 1637, and it’s also from the 1600’s that the coordinate system has its origins.

Other well known people who then developed Descartes work are for example Newton, Leibniz and Euler.