BLAISE PASCAL

(1623­1662)



Blaise Pascal was born in France in 1623. He was the third child and only son of Etienne Pascal. His mother died when he was a baby, so Blaise was raised and educated at home by his father. His father decided that he did not want Blaise to study mathematics before he turned 15 and got rid of all of the math books in their house. However, Blaise was very interested in mathematics and started to work on geometry by himself at the age of 12.



At the age of 14, Blaise started going with his father to some meetings of a religious group that also studied mathematics. This got him even more interested and by the age of 16 Blaise was presenting geometric theorems to members of the group.



This was also the time that the family moved to another part of France where the father got a job as a tax collector. To help his father with his work collecting taxes, Blaise invented the first digital calculator after working on it for three years. The calculator was called a Pascaline and was the second mechanical calculator made. However, the calculator had a lot of problems because the French money was not in even units for division. Only about 50 of the machines were sold before they stopped making them.



In 1646, a lot of events happened that had a later effect on Blaise Pascal. His father hurt his leg and had to be looked after at home by two brothers from a religious movement. They had a great influence on Blaise and he became very religious. At this same time, he began a lot of experiments on atmospheric pressure. His views were opposite those of Descartes, another famous mathematician, and they argued quite a bit about atmospheric pressure and vacuums.



Blaisešs father died in 1651. Blaise came up with a deep Christian meaning to death and his fatheršs dying, and later used this to form his philosophical work Pensees. He also worked on mathematics and physics and developed several important theorems and laws, especially in projective geometry and hydrostatics. One of Blaise Pascalšs most important works during this time was on the theory of probability studying dice problems with another mathematician.



Pascal was in bad health during his later studies and devoted his life to Christianity after he nearly lost his life in an accident. He spent most of his time at a monastery and wrote some of his most famous works in philosophy. One of his works combines religion with probability and math and he believed that everyone gambled with life and faith.



Blaise Pascal died when he was 39 from a cancer that went from his stomach to his brain. He was known as a famous mathematician, philosopher, physicist, and writer.