Blaise Pascal: Philosopher Mathematician

Lived approx. 1623 to 1662, France

Notable Quotes:  

"I cannot judge my work while I am doing it. I have to do as painters do, stand back and view it from a distance, but not too great a distance. How great? Guess."  Quoted in W H Auden and L Kronenberger, The Viking Book of Aphorisms 

"It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason."  Pensées (1670)

1640 Pascal publishes Essay pour les coniques (Essay on Conic Sections). 

1642 Pascal builds a calculating machine to help his father with tax calculations. It performs only additions. 

1653 Pascal publishes Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle on "Pascal's triangle". It had been studied by many earlier mathematicians. 

1654 Pascal publishes his Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids on hydrostatics. He recognizes that force is transmitted equally in all directions through a fluid, and gives Pascal's law of pressure.

Biographical Info

Biographical info

Rouse Ball Bio

Galileo project bio


Activities for Pascal's Triangle and Probability

Pascal's Triangle Activities (w/prints)

The Triangle and Fibonacci Sequences

More Pascal's Triangle (w/prints)

Many Pascal Triangle Activities Linked

Upper Level Activities for Pascal

Additional print teaching resources

Seymour, D. Visual Patterns in Pascal's Triangle. Palo Alto, CA: Dale Seymour Publications, 1986.

Pascal's Triangle: A Teacher's Guide With Blackline Masters

Pascal's Philosophical / Religious Writings

Pascal's Wager

Pensees online


Biographical print resources

A Piece of the Mountain: The Story of Blaise Pascal -- by Joyce McPherson

Blaise Pascal: Reasons of the Heart (Library of Religious Biography Series)