Blaise Pascal

Essay by JayMcNuggetsHigh School, 11th gradeA, January 2009

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Blaise Pascal is one of the most intellectual thinkers of the seventeenth century. He was born on July 19, 1623 in Clermont, France to Antoinette Begon and Etienne Pascal. Shortly after his birth, Pascal's mother passed away. His father was a scientist, and an official in the government of France. Pascal showed signs very early on in his childhood that he possessed astonishing scientific and mathematic capabilities. By the age of sixteen, he already had many accomplishments under his belt, such as writing an advanced thesis on geometry.

In his twenties, Pascal had invented a mechanical calculator, called the Arithmetique. His purpose for inventing the calculator was to help his father out because he worked as a tax commissioner, which could sometimes bog him down with all the calculations he had to make.

Pascal's father Etienne had a wealth of a fortune in bonds that he received from selling his job.

His holdings in bonds were enough to keep the family wealthy for a long time. During this time was the Thirty Year War in France and because of this event the Cardinal Richelieu basically funded the war with the bonds of the people, and his riches sharply declined.

Pascal was a rival of Rene Descartes, and once when the Prodigy Pascal had presented a theory to Descartes, he would not accept it based on the fact that he believed it to be the work of his father, not his own. Pascal helped to form the theory of probability, which is used throughout the world. In the theory, it basically says that by analyzing games of chance such as rolling a die, playing cards, and lotteries, you can figure out the chance you have of obtaining a desirable or undesirable outcome. This proves especially useful when a person is...