Jules Henri Poincaré dies in Paris, France. One of France's greatest mathematicians and theoretical scientists, Poincaré is associated with the early development of the special theory of relativity; however, he becomes better known for his ideas regarding the nature and process of science and scientific theories.

Poincaré began his theorizing after the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry led him to the conclusion that, contrary to traditional assumptions, axioms of geometry do not express logical truths, logical necessities, or empirical propositions.

Instead, axioms of geometry are definitions "in disguise." Axioms express decisions about how certain ideas (such as "point" and "line") will be used in order to describe particular relationships.

They are, in a sense, arbitrary instead of objective: entirely different definitions might be chosen, which would result in different geometries. The geometry which **is** chosen depends upon what's most convenient and which relationships are most economical or most fruitful.

Eventually Poincaré applied these insights to physics as well, giving it the label "conventionalism" to reflect that idea that axioms or principles are "conventions" instead of logical or empirical truths.

Poincaré never went so far as to argue that **all** empirical claims are just matters of convention, however. He only argued the physical sciences are an attempt to describe a world that is independent of our mind. It is thus possible for the science to be more or less accurate, depending on our choices of axioms and principles.