# Blaise Pascal

**Topics:**Blaise Pascal, René Descartes, Probability theory

**Pages:**2 (400 words)

**Published:**September 29, 2008

Blaise Pascal was born on June 19, 1623, in Clermont, Auvergne, France. He was the third child of Étienne Pascal. He was the only male child. Blaise’s mother passed away when he was three years old. After his mother’s death, the family packed their bags up and moved to Paris. Blaise’s father, Étienne decided to teach his son. However, he did not allow Blaise to study mathematics until he was 15 years old. When Blaise was 12, he started to study geometry by himself. Blaise continued his study of geometry throughout his teenage years.

In February 1640, Blaise had his first work, Essay on Conic Sections published. He was only 17 year old at the time. Between 1642 and 1645 Blaise started to develop a digital calculator. He called this device the Pascaline.

In the year 1646, Blaise became very religious and spiritual. He then started working on some experiments dealing with atmospheric pressure. Blaise concluded that a vacuum exists. The famous mathematician Rene Descarte debated Blaise over this issue. Descarte did not believe there was a vacuum. In October 1947 Blaise wrote another book, New Experiments Concerning Vacuums. This caused a lot of debates. After a malignant growth spread from his stomach to his brain, Blaise Pascal died on August 19, 1662 at the age of 39.

Blaise Pascal’s biggest contributions in the field of mathematics deal with probability. He and a French mathematician Fermat sent letters back and forth to each other. They were developing a theory of probability. Pascal also developed a “Pascal’s Triangle.” According to mathematicianspictures.com, “Each number in a Pascal triangle is calculated by adding the two adjacent numbers in the wider adjacent row. The sum of the numbers in any row gives the total arrangement of combinations possible within that group. The numbers at the end of each row give the ‘odds’ of the least likely combinations, within each succeeding pair of triangles giving the chances...

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