Blaise Pascal (pahs-KAHL) was born on June 19, 1623, in
Clermont-Ferrand, France. Pascal was often sick as a child and
had many health problems. His father was a lawyer and a very
talented mathematician as well. Pascal’s mother died when he was
only three years old, so their father raised him and his two sisters.
Pascal made many contributions to mathematics as well as
religion and philosophy. He invented the first adding machine or
calculator. It used gears to add and subtract. They were so
expensive that only a few people could afford them. Others saw his
invention of the calculator as so important to mathematics that a
computer language was named after him in the early 1970’s. He
also invented the wheelbarrow and many ideas about probability.
Pascal, like all great mathematicians, was fascinated by
patterns. He spent a lot of time exploring the “arithmetic triangle”
handed down by the Chinese. He discovered many new properties
and solved many problems using this triangle. It became known as