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Blaise Pascal
Blaise Pascal

(June 19, 1623 - August 19, 1662)
French Physicist, Mathematician, Philosopher

Influences

Education

  • Educated by father

Career

  • No official or academic positions

Ideas and Contributions

Pascal was one of the most notable mathematicians and physicists of 17th century and a renowned writer of mystical Christian literature. Together with Pierre de Fermat, Pascal worked out the mathematical theory of probability to help Fermat why he lost money at dice. Probability is used in actuarial, mathematical, and social statistics and for calculations in theoretical physics. He also deduced Pascal's law of fluids and investigated geometric infinitesimals. "His methodology reflected his emphasis on empirical experimentation as opposed to analytical, a priori [deductive] methods, and he believed that human progress is perpetuated by the accumulation of scientific discoveries resulting from such experimentation." (Microsoft Encarta)

Because behavioral events are eminently uncertain, Pascal's work was of utmost importance to the development of psychology as a science, especially after subsequent elaboration of this work by men such as Christian Huygens, Abraham de Moivre, Adolphe Qu,telet, Karl Gauss, and Francis Galton. (Zusne, 326)

Publications

  • Lettres provinciales (1656-1657)
  • Pens,es or Thoughts (1670 )

References: 15, 27, 28

Image Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine


Thursday, 14-Nov-2013 04:39:17 EST