Well, I'm not an export on history, but I can
give you a rough biography and some links that you'll probably find
Pascal was born on June 19, 1623 in Clermont, France and died on August
19, 1662 in Paris, France. Although his mother died when he was only a
few years old, he was raised and educated entirely by his father, a
French tax collector. His father didn't want him to learn anything
about mathematics until he was older, but when he was only 12, he
became curious and started teaching himself. His father finally gave in
and when he was still just 16 years old, his first paper was published.
At this point, he was focusing primarily on mathematics in
general and geometry in particular. But as time went on, he also became
an inventor, coming up with the first digital calculator. He went on to
study physics, discovering the idea of a vacuum and developing Pascal's Law
. Later, he used these discoveries to invent both the hydrolic pump and the syringe.
his death, though, his interest shifted to religon and philosophy, and
he gained the reputation of a notable philosopher. This does not mean
that he gave up science, however... at the same time as he was studying
religon and philosophy, he was working with Fermat on the theory of
probability. Unfortunately, this is about when he became very sick,
dying of cancer at the age of only 39.
For more detailed information, here's a few good links you can check out:
has a great timeline of Pascal's life and his discoveries. It also has a short biography.
focuses on Pascal's work in mathematics, with lots of information on his various theorems.
has a good general biography as well as lots of links to information on
other scientists and mathematicians that Pascal worked with.
(republished on 07/18/06)