Blaise Pascal


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Blaise Pascal

Was born 1623 in Clermont and died in 1662 in Paris, France

Blaise's mother died when he was only three years old, and his father resorted to some rather unusual techniques in getting his son interested in mathematics. First he banned all the mathematical books from the house, telling Blaise that he is not allowed to read anything on the subject until he was fifteen. After that worked, and Blaise was well and truly 'hooked' his father started taking him to mathematical meetings organised by Mersenne - a famous mathematical 'correspondent' (an ideological ancestor of Erdös) who knew everyone who was anyone in mathematical circles in Europe at the time.

Pascal is best known for his description of, what is now known as a Pascal's triangle. However, he was not the first to either discover it or to describe it. It has been done before him, click here to see by whom!

He is also known as the inventor of a first digital calculator which he devised to help his father calculate tax (his father was a tax collector). The device is called Pascaline; click on the picture below to see some other mathematical artefacts, either real or imagined.

Pascal is also famous for laying the foundations of the probability theory in his correspondence with Fermat.

In his later years, Pascal abandoned mathematics and devoted his energies entirely to Christian theology.



See more about Pascal's triangle by clicking on the picture below.

Find out about other mathematical artefacts by clicking on the abacus.

See about Pascal's correspondent Fermat- and his famous theorem.


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