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(Intro)The Mathematical reputation of Blaise Pascal rest more upon what he might have done for the field of mathematics rather than on what he actually affected. Even though Pascal developed numerous advances in the mathematical world in his early years the latter part of Pascal’s life was devoted to religious exercises. Pascal had no familiarity with mathematics until the age of twelve. His father wished for him to only study language. When Pascal’s father saw how quickly the boy took to mathematics he began to open the field to his son. Blaise Pascal began as a child to develop mathematical theories and ways of thinking.
(Conic sections)At the age of sixteen Pascal wrote a study on conic sections. A conic section is a curved locus of points formed by intersecting a cone with a plane. Through Pascal’s study of conic sections he produced an original result now known as Pascal’s Theorem which states that if an arbitrary hexagon is inscribed in any conic section the opposite pairs of sides are extended until they meet; the three intersection points will lie on a straight line. This line is called the Pascal line of that configuration.
(Mechanical calculator)When Pascal was eighteen he developed a kind of mechanical calculator. The reason for this invention was to help his father with his work of collecting taxes (O’Connor 1). This mechanical calculator had only the capability to add and subtract. Multiplication and division could be calculated by performing a serious of addition or subtraction. In actually this device could only add, because subtraction was performed by converting the number to be subtracted into its compliment and then adding it to the first number This the process in which computers function today. 50 prototypes of Pascal’s calculator were produced but few machines were sold, and the manufacturers ceased the production.
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