Blaise Pascal Biography

Blaise Pascal was a great mathematician who lived in 17th Century France. His mother was Antoinette Begon; she died when Blaise was three. His father, Etienne took the responsibility of bringing him up. Pascal had two sisters, Gilberte and Jacqueline. Pascal began his studies in 1635 with his reading of Euclids Elements and mastered them by age 12. This won the boy respect for his great talent in mathematics.

Pascal in fact did not attend school; instead, Etienne brought him to lectures and mathematical gatherings at the Academie Parsienne nearly from its founding. At the early age of 16, Pascal began to play an active role in Academie Parisienne. There, Pascal became the principal disciple of Girard Desargues, a professor working there because he was the only one who appreciated his work in geometry. Pascal began work on conics and published several papers to do with geometry.

In fact, in June 1639, Pascal has already made a significant discovery with his mystical hexagram. In 1641, he began to suffer from problems of health that delayed his research for a year, but he recovered and continued his work. In 1642, Pascal began to create a machine that would be similar to an everyday calculator to help his father with his accounting job. His first attempts were failures and Pascal was discouraged from working on the project for many years. He returned to it in 1644 because of the encouragement of many people.

He finished the final model in 1645 after going through more than 50 incarnations of the design, he finished the final model in 1645, Pascal himself did the selling with a few associates but because of its high price of and limited uses, sales were probably modest. He did present one to Queen Christina of Sweden and he was allowed a monopoly over it by royal decree. Although Pascal had been raised as a Catholic, later in his life, Pascal had been converted to Jansenism in 1646 and moved to a monastery in Port Royal in France.

But in 1658, he left the monastery to continue his mathematical work. Pascal then worked on many mathematical problems, including how fluids and gases behave (1646) this proved that the mercury in a barometer did not move because of a vacuum but rather because of barometric pressure, created Pascals Triangle which calculated the probabilities of winning in gambling (1654) which today has been important in the study of statistics and even modern day physics, and the theory of indivisibles (1658).

In early 1659, Pascal fell ill and abandoned his research for prayer and charity. Pascal died in 1662 at the age of 39 of cancer. His last piece of work was the Penses sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujets (Thoughts on Religion and on Other Subjects) or Penses. In this work, Pascal made comments on religion, life and sin. This was also his most well known work. Pascal was not only contributed greatly to mathematics but also to religion and science.


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