References Blaise Pascal Brief biography Blaise Pascal Outline of Pascal as a mathematician of the Necessity of the Wager Section III from Pascal's great work, Penseés Pascal's Wager A good summary of the argument by Paul Saka The Rejection of Pascal's Wager Brief refutation of Pascal by Paul Tobin Pascal's Wager Superb Analysis of the argument by Alan Hájek Blaise Pascal Biography from the Catholic Encyclopedia The First Mechanical Calculator Brief description of the calculator and its influence.

Blaise Pascal

Mathematics and Probability

Pascal contributed to several mathematic discoveries. For instance, his work on what is known as the Pascal triangle influenced Isaac Newton’s discovery of the general binomial theorem for fractional and negative powers. Pascal published a treatise on the cycloid, which involves mathematically expressing the curves of points created by a revolving circle.

In his correspondence with mathematician Pierre de Fermat, Pascal sought to find mathematical solutions to two problems that involved gambling: the problem of the dice and the problem of points. The problem of the dice concerns whether we can determine how many times one must throw a pair of dice before one expects a double six. The problem of points concerns how to divide the stakes if a game of dice is incomplete. In exploring the possible solutions to these problems, Pascal and Fermat gave foundation to the study of probability: study of the possible outcomes of given events together with their relative likelihoods and distributions.

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