Blaise Pascal

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateF, December 1996

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Blaise Pascal was born at Clermont, Auvergne, France on June 19, 1628. He was the son of Étienne Pascal, his father, and Antoinette Bégone, his mother who died when Blaise was only four years old. After her death, his only family was his father and his two sisters, Gilberte, and Jacqueline, both of whom played key roles in Pascal's life. When Blaise was seven he moved from Clermont with his father and sisters to Paris. It was at this time that his father began to school his son. Though being strong intellectually, Blaise had a pathetic physique.

Things went quite well at first for Blaise concerning his schooling. His father was amazed at the ease his son was able to absorb the classical education thrown at him and 'tried to hold the boy down to a reasonable pace to avoid injuring his health.' (P 74,Bell) Blaise was exposed to all subjects, all except mathematics, which was taboo.

His father forbid this from him in the belief that Blaise was strain his mind. Faced with this opposition, Blaise demanded to know 'what was mathematics?' His father told him, 'that generally speaking, it was the way of making precise figures and finding the proportions among them.' (P 39,Cole) This set him going and during his play times in this room he figured out ways to draw geometric figures such as perfect circles, and equilateral triangles, all of this he accomplished. Due to the fact that Étienne took such painstaking measures to hide mathematics from Blaise, to the point where he told his friends not to mention math at all around him, Blaise did not know the names to these figures. So he created his own vocab for them, calling a circle a 'round' and lines he named 'bars'. 'After these definitions he...