Blaise Pascal

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Scientific Biographies

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Blaise Pascal


•Born on July 19, 1623 in Clermont-Ferrand, France•3rd child of Etienne & Antoinette Pascal•Mom died when he was a toddler•Dad was mathematician & also a tax collector•Moved to Paris when Blaise was 8 so that he can get an education•He started becoming fascinated with geometry at age 12

Scientific Discoveries

Effects of his discoveries on Europe

Early Life

Intro (First 1:30 min)

Blaise Pascal

•defied the Aristotelian view that nature abhors a vacuum, a view that was accepted even by anti-Aristotelians like Descartes•believed reason works from first principles or natural feelings that can only be ascertained by submission to God•calculator was counted by many contemporaries as his chief achievement•also known as a mathematician

Relationship with the Church

Pascaline (Blaise Pascal's Calculator)

•Essai pour les coniques on conical geometry when he was 16•composed multiple treatises on equilibrium of liquid solutions, weight and density of air, and geometry : The Physical Treatises of Pascal and Traite du triangle arithmetique ("The Traits of the Arithmetic Triangle")•Les Provinciales - a series of letters he wrote in Port Royal, defended Janenism•Pensees ("Thoughts") was a collection of his writings defending the Christian religion that was gather and published posthumously


•grew up in a devoutly Catholic family•joined Jansenism religious movement in France•believed in experience of God through the heart rather than reason•conflicted between world and ascetic life of religion•went against the Jesuits in defending the Jansenism beliefs

•discovered and developed mathematical theory of probability•studied number theory and geometry•experimented with barometer and the theory of air pressure after hearing about Toricelli's experiments•he founded Pascal's Law on air pressure which states that when the pressure at any point in fluid in a closed system is changed, the change in pressure will disperse equally throughout the fluid. (Which led to the syringe)

•argued that he created a vacuum in his mercury experiments•he was able to disprove most of the Aristotelian beliefs•invented syringe•created hydraulic press•created one of the first calculators (The Pascaline)

Scientific Method


•believed chiefly in man's ability to reason•also used experimentation to reach his conclusions•replied to Estienne Noel about vacuums in defense of the scientific method•theories could be proved false with contradictions•

•"There are then two kinds of intellect: the one able to penetrate acutely and deeply into the conclusions of given premises, and this is the precise intellect; the other able to comprehend a great number of premises without confusing them, and this is the mathematical intellect. The one has force and exactness, the other comprehension. •

•"Physical science will not console me for the ignorance of morality in the time of affliction. But the science of ethics will always console me for the ignorance of the physical sciences."

"BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)." Blaise Pascal. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. "Blaise Pascal Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. "Blaise Pascal (French Philosopher and Scientist)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. Pascal, Blaise. "Thoughts on Mind and on Style." Pensées. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.


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