René Descartes. Principia Philosophiae. 1644.
According to French philosopher René Descartes, the universe operated as a continuously running machine which God had set in motion. Since he rejected Newton’s theory of gravity and idea of a vacuum in space, Descartes argued that instead the universe was composed of a subtle matter he named ‘plenum’, which swirled in vortices like whirlpools and actually moved the planets by contact. Here, these vortices carry the planets around the Sun.