Blaise Pascal

A Mathematical Genius

Blaise Pascal´s Childhood

Blaise Pascal was born on June 19, 1623 in what used to be Auvergne and is now called Clermont- Ferrand, France. He was the only son of four children, and his mother died when he was just three years old. Etienne Pascal, his father, then, took Blaise and his sisters to Paris and settled there.

Etienne taught his son himself because of his educational views. However, he decided he didn't want to have Blaise study math until he was 15, so he started studying geometry by himself at the age of 12. But when his father found out that he figured out that the sum of the angles in a triangle are two right angles, he allowed him to study math.

Pascal´s Invention

In December of 1939, their family left to live in Rounen, and his father had been chosen to be the tax collector of Upper Normandy. Blaise invented the first digital calculator, the Pascaline, to help him collect taxes. However, he was the second person to make a calculator, the first being a mechanical calculator, and it took him three years to make it.

The Pascal Triangle

Believe it or not, the Pascal Triangle was not actually invented by Blaise Pascal. However, his work in the Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangles was the most important on the topic of it. The Pascal Triangle makes a triangle of numbers and follows a pattern that is infinite. First, you add the two numbers that are closest to each other in one row. Then, the sum of those numbers make the next number in the next row, and the numbers in each row add up to the powers of two.

Blaise Pascal´s Mathematical Works

Pascal worked on writing Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids, which explains his law of pressure using mathematics and physics. He also worked on the topic in Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle to study the Pascal Triangle. Thirdly, he worked on conic sections and made important theorems such as The Generation of Conic Sections. It was supposed to be the first part of a treatise on conics, but he never completed it.

The Struggles of Blaise Pascal

Throughout his life, Blaise Pascal had always experienced pain. But despite his health problems, he worked closely on his mathematics and physics, until he almost lost his life in an accident that occurred in October of 1654. The horses pulling his carriage took off and the carriage was left hanging over the edge of a bridge. Even though he was without injury, it seems as he was affected psychologically. For soon after, he pledged his life to Christianity.
Geometry Tips : The History of Pascal's Triangle
Here's a little history on the Pascal Triangle.