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Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Mathematician, inventor, physicist, and philosopher

Blaise Pascal was on the 19th of June 1623 in France. His mother died when he was only three years and his father who was also a mathematician raised him.

Even from a young age, Pascal’s genius shone and he was considered especially smart in maths and physicist.

He also enjoyed the study of religion and philosophy and contributed a lot to those disciplines too.

In the area of numbers he also discovered (perhaps something that was already known even before his time) the property of a triangle at 12 years.

Called the Euclid’s Proposition, this theory said that the total of all three angles of the triangle is equal to two right angels.

This is also called the ‘binomial coefficient’ of natural numbers and is often used in the study of probability.

Even though he is celebrated for this discovery, many believe that a Chinese mathematician who lived 400 years before Pascal figured it out before him.

His first known invention was at 18 years when he constructed a mechanical calculator that was able to add and subtract numbers. It was called “Pascal’s calculator” after him.

Even though the Pascal’s calculator was not taken seriously, he continued to work on it for the next ten years and produced 50 machines with improvements.

At 31 years, while helping a friend who was having gambling problems, Pascal laid out a simple version of the law of probabilities.

He even extended his law of probabilities to the area of philosophy and religion, and this was called the Pascal’s Wager.

He studied fluids and liquids that he based on the principles of hydraulic fluids.

Based on these, Pascal invented he hydraulic press, which was able to use the pressure created by water to increase force, and the syringe.

Extending his work on the study of water and fluids, he cleared up the understanding of pressure, and today the unit measuring pressure is called “Pascal”.

Pascal discovered the mechanism behind the vacuum and explained it in simple terms.

Pascal was quite a sickly man his whole life and on the 19th of August 1662 he finally passed away from sickness and grief at the death of his sister a few years ago.

Pascal’s law of probability is perhaps his most valuable contribution to the world. Today it is widely used in the practice and study of economics, mathematics, and accounting.