Blaise Pascal

Gerolamo Cardano and Physician, Mathematician, and Gambler

Gerolamo Cardano and Physician, Mathematician, and Gambler

On September 24, 1501, Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician, astrologer and gambler Gerolamo Cardano was born. He wrote more than 200 works on medicine, mathematics, physics, philosophy, religion, and music. But, he is best known for his gambling that led him to formulate elementary rules in probability, making him one of the founders of probability theory. “The greatest advantage in gambling lies in not playing at all.” – Gerolamo Cardano (around 1560). Liber…
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Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

On July 7, 1752, French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard was born. He is best known for his invention of the programmable loom, the “Jacquard loom“, which in turn played an important role in the development of the computer. Back in the 18th century, literally nobody – maybe with the exception people like Leibniz [4] or Pascal [5] – thought about a programmable computer. But, it was the time, the industrial revolution should get…
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Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

On February 21, 1591, French mathematician and engineer Girard Desargues was born. Desargues is considered one of the founders of projective geometry. Desargues‘ theorem, the Desargues graph, and the crater Desargues on the Moon are named in his honour. In his later years, he designed an elaborate spiral staircase, and an ingenious new form of pump, but the most important of Desargues‘ interests was Geometry. He invented a new, non-Greek way of…
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Wilhelm Schickard and his Calculating Clock

Wilhelm Schickard and his Calculating Clock

On October 23, 1635, German astronomer and mathematician Wilhelm Schickard, who constructed the very first mechanical calculator, passed away. His famous calculator was able to perform additions and subtractions. For more complicated operations, it provided so-called Napier bones, named after the Scottish mathematician John Napier,[1] who came up with the idea of logarithms. Although it is widely believed that the first mechanical calculating device was created by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in…
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Charles Babbage – The Father of the Computer who hated Street Music

Charles Babbage – The Father of the Computer who hated Street Music

On October 18, 1871, Charles Babbage, mathematician, inventor and early computer scientist passed away. We think, everybody should know about Charles Babbage and his seminal work on the first mechanical universal computer, the Analytical Engine. Although the Analytical Engine never was build during his lifetime, due to the lack of according fine mechanics in the 19th century, Babbage sketched out everything necessary to construct and to program a universal computer. “The whole…
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It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

On June 19, 1623, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian Blaise Pascal was born. “A few rules include all that is necessary for the perfection of the definitions, the axioms, and the demonstrations, and consequently of the entire method of the geometrical proofs of the art of persuading.” – Blaise Pascal, The Art of Persuasion (1660) The Son of a Tax Collector “It is not certain that everything is uncertain.”…
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Jean de La Bruyère and the Power of Money in a Demoralized Society

Jean de La Bruyère and the Power of Money in a Demoralized Society

On August 16, 1645, French philosopher and moralist Jean de La Bruyère was born. La Bruyère is best known for one work, Les Caractères de Théophraste traduits du grec avec Les Caractères ou les moeurs de ce siècle (1688; The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus), which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of French literature. “Life is a tragedy for those who feel,…
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Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647) On October 15, 1608, Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli was born, best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in Optics. Evangelista Torricelli was born in Rome, the firstborn child of Gaspare Ruberti, a poor textile worker, and Giacoma Torricelli. His family was from Faenza in the Province of Ravenna, then part of the Papal States. His parents sent Evangelista to…
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