- 16 Dec '13 19:35 / 1 edit
**One Scientist's Perspective**

"Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French philosopher and scientist, was one of the greatest and most influential mathematical writers of all time. He was also an expert in many fields, including various languages, and a well-versed religious philosopher."

**Early Life and Contributions:**"Born at Clermont-Ferrand on June 19, 1623, Pascal’s father was Étienne Pascal, a counselor of the king who later became the president of the Court of Aids at Clermont. His mother died in 1626. The Pascal family settled in Paris in 1631. At a tender age of 12, Pascal began participating in the meetings of a mathematical academy. He learned different languages from his father, Latin and Greek in particular, but Pascal Sr. didn’t teach him mathematics. This increased the curiosity of young Pascal, who went on to experiment with geometrical figures, even formulating his own names for standard geometrical terms.

Pascal started working on a book, Essay on Conics. The book was published in 1640, and its highlight was the “mystic hexagram”, a theorem related to the collinearity of intersections of lines. It also had hundreds of propositions on conic sections, and influences from Apollonius and his successors. The book gained publicity not only because of the writer’s young age, 16, but also due to its unique accounts about tangency, and several other qualities."

**Mathematical and Scientific Achievements:**"Pascal’s contributions to hydrostatics, particularly his experimentations with the barometer and his theoretical work on the equilibrium of fluids, were made public one year after his death. The development of probability theory is often considered to be the most significant contributions in the history of mathematics. The Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids by Pascal is an extension to Simon Stevin’s research on the hydrostatic paradox and explains what may be termed as the final law of hydrostatics; the famous Pascal’s principle. Pascal is known for his theories of liquids and gases and their interrelation, and also his work regarding the relationship between the dynamics of hydrodynamics and rigid bodies.

Post-Port Royal, perhaps Pascal’s most important to mathematics dealt with the issuess related to the cycloid; a curve, with the area of which the best mathematicians of the day were occupied. Pascal introduced most of his theorems without proof, thus issuing a challenge to his contemporaries, for instance Christopher Wren, John Wallis and Christian Huygens, who happily accepted and figured them out. He also put forward his own solutions, “Amos Dettonville”, an assumed alias. Later, many mathematicians often referred to him by this alias. The mathematical theory of probability became popular when a communication between Pascal and Pierre de Fermat disclosed that both had concluded to almost similar results. Pascal designed a treatise on the subject, which was also published after his death, though only a few parts of it have survived. Pascal was always concise and sharp when it came to mathematics."

**Death:**"Blaise Pascal died of tuberculosis on 19 August, 1662 at a young age of 39."

http://www.famousscientists.org/blaise-pascal/

**Legacy:**"Pascal's inventions and discoveries have been instrumental to developments in the fields of geometry, physics and computer science. His exploration of binomial coefficients influenced Sir Isaac Newton, leading him to uncover his "general binomial theorem for fractional and negative powers."

In the 1970s, the Pascal (Pa) unit was named after Blaise Pascal, in honor of his contributions to the understanding of atmospheric pressure and how it could be estimated in terms of weight. The Pascal is a unit of pressure that constitutes the force of a single newton acting on a square-meter surface. It is measured using the meter-kilogram-second system, which relies on an extended version of the metric system to calculate pressure.

In 1972, computer scientist Nicklaus Wirth invented a computer language and insisted on naming it after Pascal. This was Wirth's way of memorializing Pascal's invention of the Pascaline, one of the earliest forms of the modern computer. Pascal is also credited with building the foundation of probability theory."

http://www.biography.com/people/blaise-pascal-9434176?page=3 - 16 Dec '13 19:35 / 1 edit
**Note:**Additional Observations from Blaise Pascal will follow (googlefudge, the disturbing Wager's isn't one of them). -Bob

*1) “When I consider the brief span of my life absorbed into the eternity which precedes and will succeed it—memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis*(remembrance of a guest who tarried but a day)—the small space I occupy and which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which know nothing of me, I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there: there is no reason for me to be here rather than there, now rather than then. Who put me here? By whose command and act were this place and time allotted to me?” - Blaise Pascal, Pensées1

“2) The world is a good judge of things, for it is in natural ignorance, which is man's true state. The sciences have two extremes which meet. The first is the pure natural ignorance in which all men find themselves at birth.*The other extreme is that reached by great intellects, who, having run through all that men can know, find they know nothing, and come back again to that same ignorance from which they set out; but this is a learned ignorance which is conscious of itself.*Those between the two, who have departed from natural ignorance and not been able to reach the other, have some smattering of this vain knowledge and pretend to be wise. These trouble the world and are bad judges of everything. The people and the wise constitute the world; these despise it, and are despised. They judge badly of everything, and the world judges rightly of them.” -Blaise Pascal, Pensées

“3) Let man then contemplate the whole of nature in her full and grand majesty, and turn his vision from the low objects which surround him. Let him gaze on that brilliant light, set like an eternal lamp to illumine the universe; let the earth appear to him a point in comparison with the vast circle described by the sun; and let him wonder at the fact that this vast circle is itself but a very fine point in comparison with that described by the stars in their revolution round the firmament. But if our view be arrested there, let our imagination pass beyond; it will sooner exhaust the power of conception than nature that of supplying material for conception. The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample bosom of nature. It is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.*In short it is the greatest sensible mark of the almighty power of God, that imagination loses itself in that thought.”*-Blaise Pascal, Pensées

“4) Thus I stretch out my arms to my Saviour,*who, after being foretold for four thousand years, came on earth to die and suffer for me at the time and in the circumstances foretold*. By his grace I peaceably await death, in the hope of being eternally united to him, and meanwhile I live joyfully, whether in the blessings which he is pleased to bestow on me or in the affliction he sends me for my own good and taught me how to endure by his example.” -Blaise Pascal, Pensées - 16 Dec '13 23:48 / 2 edits5) "There are only three types of people; those who have found God and serve him; those who have not found God and seek him, and those who live not seeking, or finding him. The first are rational and happy; the second unhappy and rational, and the third foolish and unhappy.” -Blaise Pascal

6) "I rather live as if God exists to find out that He doesn't than live as if he doesn't exist to find out He does.” -Blaise Pascal

7) "Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it.” -Blaise Pascal - 17 Dec '13 00:38

Well, he was a Blaising star๐ Died same age as Mozart.*Originally posted by SwissGambit***Just because Pascal may have been good at math doesn't mean he was good at religious philosophy. Perhaps that's the trap. You do really well in one field that takes a fair amount of intelligence, then you start imagining yourself an expert on all things intellectual.** - 17 Dec '13 02:23

Wouldn't this be better in the Science Forum?*Originally posted by Grampy Bobby***[b]One Scientist's Perspective**

"Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French philosopher and scientist, was one of the greatest and most influential mathematical writers of all time. He was also an expert in many fields, including various languages, and a well-versed religious philosopher."

**Early Life and Contributions:**"Born at Clermont-Ferr ...[text shortened]... undation of probability theory."

http://www.biography.com/people/blaise-pascal-9434176?page=3[/b] - 17 Dec '13 02:36

“4) Thus I stretch out my arms to my Saviour, who, after being foretold for four thousand years, came on earth to die and suffer for me at the time and in the circumstances foretold. By his grace I peaceably await death, in the hope of being eternally united to him, and meanwhile I live joyfully, whether in the blessings which he is pleased to bestow on me or in the affliction he sends me for my own good and taught me how to endure by his example.” -Blaise Pascal, Pensées*Originally posted by RJHinds***Wouldn't this be better in the Science Forum?** - 17 Dec '13 02:46

Yes, I guess they would complain and try to get you banned from the Science Forum if you put that part in. Those on the Science Forum do not like opinions like that.*Originally posted by Grampy Bobby***“4) Thus I stretch out my arms to my Saviour, who, after being foretold for four thousand years, came on earth to die and suffer for me at the time and in the circumstances foretold. By his grace I peaceably await death, in the hope of being eternally united to him, and meanwhile I live joyfully, whether in the blessings which he is pleased to bestow on ...[text shortened]... he sends me for my own good and taught me how to endure by his example.” -Blaise Pascal, Pensées**