Pascal, Blaise Essay, Research Paper
Born: Clermont-Ferrand, 19 June 1623
Died: Paris, 19 August 1662
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Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Occupation: Government Official
Pascal’s ancestors were rich merchants that attained the highest ranks of the burgess class. His father, Etienne, was a royal tax officer and a member of the petit noblesse. Although there is no explicit word about the financial status of the father, that ancestry of rich merchants, together with all the circumstances of Pascal’s life, seem clearly to state that he grew up in wealthy circumstances.
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Schooling: No University
Pascal appears to have had no formal education. As a young child his father took charge of his education. He continued his education in the salons and scientific gatherings he attended with his father as a young man in Paris.
In 1646 he had his first conversion experience and was attracted to the teaching of Saint-Cyran whose views were close to Jansenism. Pascal kept his ties with the Port Royalists for the rest of his life. He even came to the aid of the Jansenists against the Jesuits.
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6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics, Physics
In 1640 Pascal wrote an essay on conics extending the work of Desargues in projective geometry. This essay was meant to be the outline of a much larger work, but it was never published. Only a few scholars like Leibniz and de la Hire saw the manuscript.
Pascal began work on his calculating machine in 1642. For three years he worked to develop a working model. In 1649 he received a monopoly for maufacturing and producing his calculating machine.
He began his barometric experiments in 1646 and continued them for eight years. He asserted that his experiments in the statics of gases and liquids contradicted the doctrine of horror vacui. In 1654 he completed a shorter work devoted to the laws of hydrostatics and to the demonstration and description of the various effects of the weight of air. This work, Trait? de l’?quilibre, was published posthumously by his brother-in-law, Perier, who participated in many of Pascal’s experiments.
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Upon the completion of his work on hydrostatics Pascal turned to his studies on arithmetic, combinatorial analysis and the calculus of probability. His work is reflected in his correspondence with Fermat. Pascal wrote his Trait? du triangle arithmetique in the same year but it was not distributed until 1665. Pascal continued his work in mathematics with his ?l?ments de g?ometrie (1657), prepared upon the request of Arnauld. At the beginning of 1659 he devoted his energies to the perfecting of the theory of divisibles, which was a forerunner of the methods of integral calculus.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means