Friday, July 19, 2019
Blaise Pascal :: essays research papers
Blaise Pascal was born in Clermont France on June 19, 1623 to Etienne Pascal. His mother died when he was only 3. He was the third of four children and the only boy. He was described as a man of: small stature, poor health, loud spoken, somewhat overbearing, precious, stubbornly persevering, a perfectionist, highly pugnacious yet seeking to be humble and meek. Pascal's father had somewhat unorthodox views on education, so he decided to teach his son himself. He forbade any mathematic teachings or material to be given to him and had any such texts removed from their house. Blaise became engulfed with curiosity due to this rule. He started to work with geometry on his own at the age of 12. He discovered that the sum of the three angles of a triangle is equivalent to two right angles. When his father discovered this he then allowed Blaise a copy of Euclid. At the age of 14 Blaise began accompanying his father to Mersenne's meetings. Mersenne was a member of a religious order of Minims. His cell held many meetings for the likes of Gassendi, Roberval, Carcavi, Auzout, Mydorge, Mylon, Desargues and others. By the time he was 15 Blaise admired the work of Desargues greatly. At 16 Pascal presented a single piece of paper at a Mersenne's meeting in June 1639. It held many of his geometry theorems, including his mystic hexagon. In December 1639 he and his family left Paris and moved to Rouen where his father Etienne was appointed tax collector for Upper Normandy. Soon after settling down in Rouen his Essay on Conic Sections was published in February of 1640. It was his first great work. Pascal also invented the first digital calculator to aid his father in his tax collecting duties. For three years he worked 1642 - 1545. Dubbed the Pascaline, it resembled a mechanical calculator of the 1940's. This almost assuredly makes Pascal second only to Shickard who manufactured the first in 1624. Pascal faced problems with the design of the calculator due to the design of French c urrency at the time. There were 12 deniers in a sol, and 20 sols in a livre. Therefore there were 240 deniers in a livre. Hence Pascal had to deal with more technical problems to work with this odd way of dividing by 240. Yet the currency system remained the same in France until 1799, but Britain's similar system lasted until 1971.