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 Post subject: Blaise Pascal
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:24 am 
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Sgt Fluffy
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Well, I thought it would be nice to get a biography in here. Thanks for the push ishrat.

This biograpy is from: http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/jsp/db/ ... ise+Pascal
Longer, more detailed biographies can easily be found by doing a quick Google search.

Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 - August 19, 1662) was a France | French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher. Among his contributions to the natural sciences are construction of mechanical calculators, considerations on probability theory, studies of fluids, and clarification of concepts such as pressure and vacuum. Following a profound religious experience in 1654, Pascal abandoned mathematics and physics for philosophy and theology.

Blaise Pascal was born in Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dôme, France. His mother died when he was three, and he was raised by his mathematician father, Étienne Pascal (1588-1651). Blaise Pascal was the brother of Jacqueline Pascal (1625-1661).

Computer historians recognize his contribution to their field by his construction at the age of 18 of a mechanical calculator capable of addition and subtraction (one of his original mechanical calculators is displayed at the Zwinger museum, in Dresden, Germany). He also produced a treatise on conic sections as a young man. In 1654, prompted by a friend interested in gambling problems, he corresponded with Fermat and laid out a simple account of probability | probabilities.

He later formulated Pascals wager | Pascal's wager, an argument for the belief in God based on probabilities. His name is also attached to Pascal's triangle, a way to present binomial coefficients, which were, however, known long before his time.

His notable contributions to the fields of the study of fluids (hydrodynamics and hydrostatics) centered around the principles of hydraulic fluid | hydraulic fluids. His inventions include the hydraulic press (using hydraulic pressure to multiply force) and the syringe. He clarified concepts such as pressure (the unit of which bears his name) and vacuum.

In 1650, he suffered from frail health and retired from mathematics. However, in 1653, his health returned and he wrote Traite du triangle arithmetique inwhich he described the "arithmetical triangle" that bears his name.

Following an accident at the Neuilly bridge where the horses plunged over the parapet but the carriage was miraculous saved in 1654, Pascal abandoned mathematics and physics for philosophy and theology. In 1660, Pascal's The Provincial Letters, a defense of the Jansenist Antoine Arnauld, was ordered shredded and burned by King Louis XIV of France. His most influential work, the Pensées, was never completed, but a version of his notes for that book were published in 1670, 8 years after his death, and it soon became a classic of devotional literature.

Pascal is also known for his attack on Casuistry as a popular ethics | ethical method used by Catholicism | Catholic thinkers in the early modern period, (especially the Jesuits) as the mere use of complex reasoning to justify moral laxity. His writings on this subject were published as the Lettres provinciales, or "Provincial Letters."

Pascal died in Paris on August 19, 1662 and is buried there in the St. Etienne-du-Mont cemetery.

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 Post subject: Welcome change
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:29 am 
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You are Welcome greekboy3000;
Its really nice to see different Author's been introduced and will enhance our Knowledge about them and their work. thnaks for Contributing as every new Author brings in variety.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 7:13 pm 
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GreekBoy: Thanks! I've just looked up Pascal's Wager in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ( www.plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2001 ... cal-wager/ ) and saved it to be read ASAP. I'd also like to further explore that experience that caused him to change his focus of study to religion and philosophy. This forum is a great place to discover new paths for exploring!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 9:54 pm 
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I looked into Pascal a couple years ago, and I agree he is a fascinating man
http://forum.quoteland.com/1/OpenTopic? ... 8021990452
At the age of sixteen he wrote a geometrical book of which his contemporaries said it surpassed Archimed, the 'Traite des coniques'.

...his sister, Gilberte Perier, writes in the 'Vie de Monsieur Pascal' that from his eighteenth onwards he didn't know 'one day without pain' (n'aucun jour sans douleur). From 1659 onwards the ailments are many: toothache, insomnia, problems when swallowing. In that period he wrote his 'Prayer about the right use of illnesses'.

SICKBED – DYING – FUNERAL
Modern medical historical studies showed different causes of death. Tuberculosis of the intestines (tuberculose intestinale), intestinal cancer (cancer de l'intestin), and a brain tumor (cancer au cerveau), are all diagnosed, while rheumatism has been seen as a factor complicating it. However it may have been, it's sure that Pascal's premature death has been hastened the contemporary doctors who didn't know any other treatments than bleedings and purgatives. When Pascal is complaining about heavy headache, the doctors say the cause is 'vapors' (la vapeur des eaux), and they proscribe milk. According to Dr. Cabanes, who studied Pascal's illness in detail, his doctors are 'incurably optimistic' (montrent un incurable optimisme).
On his deathbed Pascal asked for a priest in order to give him the sacraments, but the doctors didn't think it to be that badly. Two days before his death a priest was admitted and at the next night Pascal got a cerebral hemorrhage and he went into coma. Coming out of that he spoke his last words: "Que Dieu m'abandonne jamais!" (May God never forsake me!). The next day at one a.m. he died, in his sister's house, at number 67, in the rue du Cardinal-Lemoine.
On 21 August Pascal was buried in the church Saint-Etienne-du-Mont at Paris.

"The last act is bloody, however fine the rest of the play. They throw earth over your head and it is finished forever."
~Pascal: Pensees

~written by Ed Schilders
http://let.kub.nl/mousebit/thanatose/PASCALE.html

An excellent paper on Pascal http://www.biblicaldefense.org/Research ... ascal.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:54 am 
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Congrats greekboy3000; You got so many people interested in Pascal.
Keep up the work of introducing more and more people to our knowledge. :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 2:10 pm 
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Sgt Fluffy
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Interesting stuff. I've got Pensees in front of me now, and at the beginning it has a short biography. Here's something that sums up his genius: (from the book)

An author of two widely celebrated works on religion (and much else) who enjoys the reputation of being a brilliant mathematician, a scientist of proven ability, a technologist capable of designing and constructing a calculating machine and devising and seeing inaugurated the first public transport service in Paris, may well expect to be labeled a dilettante.

....It is as a Frenchman of all-round distinction that Pascal's portrait was chosen for the 600-franc banknote issued by the Banque de France.

A small extract from the book: (from 44)

"Put the world's greatest philosopher on a plank that is wider than need be: if there is a precipice below, although reason may convince him that he is safe, his imagination will prevail."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:17 pm 
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Nostromo:

Quote:
from his eighteenth onwards he didn't know 'one day without pain' (n'aucun jour sans douleur). From 1659 onwards the ailments are many: toothache, insomnia, problems when swallowing.


Sounds like a bit of a hypochondriac... :roll: or am I misreading??

Thanks for the info... I'm now even more intrigued!

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