Blaise Pascal is a genius who, despite an early death and much of his time devoted to religion, has marked the history of science, particularly through his rigorous analysis and sense of experience. Born in Clermont, France in 1623, Blaise was an only son of Antoinette Begon, who died when he was only three years, and to Etienne Pascal. His father, a lawyer and mathematician, fully supported the education of the boy. It started with the letters, reserving the math later in his life, but the young Pascal was early. At 12, he began focusing on geometry and discovered that the sum of the angles of a triangle equals two right angles. Based in Paris with his family, Blaise Pascal attended in 1635 a circle of mathematicians where he met scientists such as Roberval, Gassendi, or Mydorge Desargues, who inspired one of his early work in which he used the methods of projective geometry of the older states to develop Pascal's theorem that the intersection points of pairs of sides of an hexagon inscribed in a conic are collinear. Pascal then moved to Rouen where he remained seven years. Then a period of intense scientific activity began for the young Blaise. In 1642, he developed a calculating machine to help his father in his work of tax accounting. He was only 19 years. Designed to abstract calculation and financial, the Pascaline adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides, with a system composed of six to ten-wheel teeth. Although it is not the first of its kind (Wilhelm Schickard invented a similar machine in 1623), Blaise Pascal is not aware of previous work when he invented the calculator and it remains one of his greatest contributions to science. After three years of effort, Pascal offers to Chancellor Seguier a completed machine and decides to sell it and a number of copies are made, but the cost is too high and production is suspended. He then experienced with the void, following the work of Torricelli. From 1646 to 1654, he multiplied experiments with all kinds of instruments. One of them confirmed the reality of vacuum and atmospheric pressure and established the general theory of equilibrium of liquids. Pascal is also responsible for the invention of the hydraulic press, based on the principle that bears his name and who wants that in an incompressible fluid in equilibrium, pressure is transmitted in full. With his knowledge of hydrostatic, he participated in the draining of swamps in Poitevin at the request of the Duke of Roannez. The very one with whom he created the famous lines of carriages and five floors to get around Paris. Since 1650 Pascal was interested in calculus and arithmetic. If he is not the first to work on Pascal's triangle, as Chinese and Arabic mathematicians had done before him, he provided the most systematic study. And it is the first time that the principle of mathematical induction is used. Blaise Pascal is friend with Pierre Fermat and together they found the science of probability. A correspondence is established between the two men around solving problems like that posed by a player, the Chevalier de Mere, and transmitted by Pascal to Fermat, presenting a situation in which two players want to leave the table before the end of a game of cards for money. The question is how to distribute the money between the players when this gambling game os not yet finished. In fact, each player will take the minimum bet corresponding to his points, the remaining amount is shared equally between them. The two mathematicians came to the same conclusion, but by different paths, Fermat using combinatorial reasoning and Pascal induction. A related experiment to tackle the issue of perpetual motion led him to create the roulette, still unchanged to this day. As a matter of fact the origin of probability is intertwined with games of chances mostly seen in gambling ciricles at this time. Meanwhile, Pascal developed his thoughts about religion, a theme that kept a pominent place throughout his life. Back in Paris in 1647, he was soon separated from his father, who died in 1651, and his sister Jacqueline, who was like himself seduced by the ardor of faith advocated by Jansenism. Thus began for him a worldly period, made out and play, which ends suddenly in 1654, after a mystical experience, a revelation that led to a total conversion Pascal. He moved to the monastery of Port Royal in 1655 and devoted himself almost exclusively to the defense of Jansenism and religious-philosophical works (his 'Thoughts'). His last scientific work concerned the cycloid. In 1658, it solves some problems that occupied many mathematicians, especially related to the area and volume created by the rotation of a cycloid around its axis. Of poor health, Pascal died prematurely at the age of 39 years, plagued by pain, probably due to a stomach tumor that migrated to the brain. Mathematician, physicist, theologian, philosopher, moralist and founder of classical prose in France, the many talents of this extraordinary individual has made Blaise Pascal one of the most important figures of his century.
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