# Blaise Pascal

Essay by Kill009 • January 2, 2012 • Essay • 715 Words (3 Pages) • 1,622 Views

**Page 1 of 3**

Blaise Pascal was born on June 19, 1623, in Claremont, France. His mother died when he was only three years old. He seemed to be very smart so his father decided to school him at home. At first he was only allowed to study languages but that made him very curious about mathematics. When he was twelve, he asked his teacher what geometry was. When he found out what it was, he started reading things about math when he didn't have to study. In a few weeks he had figured out that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. When he was fourteen, he was allowed to attend the meetings of several French geometricians which eventually became the French Academy.

His father was injured and taken care of by a religious group called the Jansenists. The group was founded by Cornelis Jansen. He became very involved in the religious movement even writing a document called Pensees which he said "contemplates the greatness and the misery of man". After his father died in 1651, he began doing scientific experiments again. In 1654, he was injured in a buggy accident when his horses ran away. In 1659, he became sick with the illness that would cause his death. He died on August 17, 1662, in Paris at the home of his sister.

He believed in the idea that machines could be used to solve mathematical problems and along with other inventors worked on a machine. It was called the Pascaline and used base ten. He invented it to help his father who was a tax collector.

His discoveries included the Pascal's triangle, Pascal's principle, how barometers work, and conic sections. Pascal's triangle was the work that contributed the most to mathematics. It presented a visual explanation of binomial coefficients. In a related way, he also conceived a theory of probability using his triangle to determine what was the probability that things will happen. His theories have contributed to the development of computers in today's world.

Websites

www.mathisfun.com/pascalstriangle.html

This website describes the use of Pascal's triangle in kind of simple terms. It shows number patterns. It helps determine the probability of different combinations. It helps determine how many combinations of objects are possible. It show coefficients in binomial expansion.

There are examples with explanations on the website. It is also interactive with a section that can be done on the computer. There are some question and answer sections. There is also an activity on subsets.

www.grc.nasa.gov//WWW/k-12/WindTunnel/Activities/Pascals_principle.html

This website describes Pascal's principle. His principle based on barometric pressure. He showed that increases in pressure at any point in a confined liquid equals increases at every other point

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