Blaise Pascal

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

“It is not certain that everything is uncertain.” is one of the many profound insights that philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) published in his seminal work entiteled “Pensées” (Thoughts, published in 1669, after his death). He literally had versatile scientific interests, as he provided influential contributions in the field of mathematics, physics, engineering, as well as in religious philosophy. Blaise Pascal was a child prodigy educated by his father Étienne Pascal, a tax…
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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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Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) 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 or Pascal – thought about a programmable computer. But, it was the time, the…
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