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Q & A: Blaise Pascal

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
I would like to get information on Blaise Pascal. I was hoping you could send me some. I would appreciate it. thanks, Ms. Samantha J. Tomczak
- Samantha Tomczak (age 13)
Galva Jr. High School, Galva, IL, USA
A:

Samantha -

Well, I’m not an export on history, but I can give you a rough biography and some links that you’ll probably find more useful...

Blaise 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 probability theory. Later, he used these discoveries to invent both the hydrolic pump and the syringe.

Before 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:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal and https://www.biography.com/scholar/blaise-pascal.

This has a great timeline of Pascal’s life and his discoveries: https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/blaise-pascal--5. It also has a short biography.

This link, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_theorem, focuses on Pascal’s work in mathematics, with lots of information on his various theorems.

This link, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Blaise-Pascal, has a good general biography as well as lots of links to information on other scientists and mathematicians that Pascal worked with.

-Tamara


(published on 10/22/2007)

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