Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Blaise Pascal exhibited his talents at an early age, although his father who made discoveries in analytic geometry, kept mathematics books away from him to encourage other interests. At 16 Pascal discovered an important result concerning conic sections. At 18 he designed a calculating machine, which he built and sold. Pascal, along with Fermat, laid the foundations for the modern theory of probability. In this work, he made new discoveries concerning what is now called Pascal’s triangle. In 1654, Pascal abandoned his mathematical pursuits to devote himself to theology. After this, he returned to mathematics only once. One night, distracted by a severe toothache, he sought comfort by studying the mathematical properties of the cycloid. Miraculously, his pain subsided, which he took as a sign of divine approval of the study of mathematics.

PS: The programming language, Pascal, was, of course, named after Blaise Pascal!

-Nalin Pithwa.

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