CSE 171: User Interface Design: Social and Technical Issues
Quotation from Descartes

The desire to make mathematics easier has a long history, as shown by the following extract from a letter by Renee Descartes to Girard Desargues, 19 June 1639, quoted in The Geometrical Work of Girard Desargues, by J.V. Field and J.J. Gray (Springer, 1986, pages 176-177):

If [it] is your intention ... to write for people who are interested but not learned, and make this subject, which until now has been understood by very few people, but which is nevertheless very useful ..., accessible to the common people and easily understood by anyone who studies it from your book, then you must steel yourself to ... explain everything so fully, so clearly and so distinctly that these gentlemen, who cannot study a book without yawning and cannot exert their imagination to understand a proposition of Geometry, nor turn the page to look at the letters on a figure, will not find anything in your discourse which seems to them to be less easy of understanding than the description of an enchanted palace in a novel.

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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
9 November 1997