"What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe!" Blaise Pascal

1623-62, French scientist and religious philosopher, inventor

A mathematical prodigy, mastered Euclid's Elements by the age of 12. He founded probability theory, discovered the properties of the cycloid, and contributed to the advance of differential calculus. At age 18 he invented a calculating machine 1647, and later the barometer, the hydraulic press, and the syringe. Until 1654 he spent his time between mathematics and the social round in Paris. Friends with Pierre de Fermat.

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Source:
http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/People/Pascal/RouseBall/RB_Pascal.html
Last Updated 05.07.04