Desmond Longman

Inventor

From June 19th 1623, to August 19th 1662, Blaise Pascal was a famous French Mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian Philosopher. As a child he was educated by his father,a tax collector, and had a wide interest in geometry. In 1642 in his teenage years, he started some work on calculating machines. 3 years later on, and after 50 prototypes, he finished 20 complete machines over ten years which he called Pascal's calculators. Making him one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator.

Invention

Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662 aged 39
Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662 aged 39

Inspired by his father to make his job easier, at the age of 18 he invented the Pascaline, one of the first mechanical calculators. It was designed in 1642, and in 1645 he presented it to the public. It could add and subtract any two numbers directly. He kept working on more while improving the design of it. It went into production but was never a big seller, it went out of production less than a year later.



The Pascaline 1652
The Pascaline 1652

Later years

Pascal continued to influence mathematics throughout his life. His Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle of 1653 described a convenient presentation for Pascal's triangle. The triangle shows many mathematical properties. Pascal laid the foundation of probability theory and published the theological works Pensees and Provinciales. His work was highly successful in the world of mathematics.

Pascal's triangle. Each number is the sum of the two directly above it.
Pascal's triangle. Each number is the sum of the two directly above it.

In 1646, he and his sister Jacqueline became religious within Catholicism. Their father died in 1651. Following a religious experience in late 1654, he began writing influential on philosophy and theology, but stopped his work on mathematics.

Death


Blaise Pascal struggled with insomnia and a painful digestive disorder called dyspepsia from the time he was a teenager. He lived most of his adult life in great pain, he had always been in poor health, suffering even in his youth from migraine. He passed away from a malignant stomach tumor at his sister's house in Paris on August 19th, 1662, he aged 39.

Legacy


Blaise Pascal's invention was an important step in the development of mechanical calculators in first Europe and then all over the world. It is developed and improved and would later on would become the calculators we have today. His other discoveries have been instrumental to developments in the fields of geometry, physics, and computer science.


Links for more information.

http://www.biography.com/people/blaise-pascal-9434176

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal

http://www.britannica.com/biography/Blaise-Pascal