I have been trying to source a famous quote of Descartes, "Omnia apud me mathematica fiunt." or "With me everything turns into mathematics."

I cannot find a source for this. The English e-books I have, nor the the Latin version on Google books.

It's scattered all over the web and "turns into mathematics" shows up in Google's N-Gram viewer starting in 1930. None ever cite the book it came from, let alone the chapter.

  • $\begingroup$ Unsourced and looks like no one can find according to: en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Ren%C3%A9_Descartes $\endgroup$ – Amzoti Jul 29 '13 at 5:45
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    $\begingroup$ Just to be clear, given the original quotation in Axel Kemper's answer, what Descartes is actually saying is this: "[...] according to me, all things in nature occur mathematically." $\endgroup$ – Branimir Ćaćić Jul 29 '13 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @BranimirĆaćić Would you mind editing this Wikiquote page? I tried filling in the context the best I could, but I do not read French nor German. Also, me is grammatically incorrect, it should be 'myself' that that sounds clumsy.... $\endgroup$ – Indolering Jul 29 '13 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ It's gloriously awkward and hasty Latin-to-English translationese, sure, but I don't think it's strictly ungrammatical... In any event, though, an idiomatic translation should be something like "in my opinion, everything in nature occurs mathematically;" I've changed the relevant sentence on the Wikiquote page accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Branimir Ćaćić Jul 29 '13 at 20:22

This quote is said to be from a letter of Descartes to Mersenne dated 11th March 1640 (Correspondence 1640 - 1643, page 36, note to line 7). The original sentence was "[...] apud me omnia fiunt Mathematicè in Natura [...]".

A version translated from here along with some discussion regarding the translation can (thanks to this Q/A) be found on Wikiquote.

An image of the original page is online, but I could not include more than a snippet here:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Came back to read this question after getting an SE trophy and, well, this is why I love the internet! Some random person giving me information that I failed to find after searching through literally millions of books ... it's amazing! $\endgroup$ – Indolering Jun 26 '19 at 1:55

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