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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