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Blaise Pascal


Blaise Pascal was born on the 19th June 1623 in Clermont-Ferrand. He lost his mother, Antoinette Begon at the age of three. He lived with his father, Etienne Pascal, and his two sisters: Jacqueline and Gilberte.


Blaise Pascal

1631: They went to Paris. He was educated by his father because he had extraordinary capacities at mathematics.

1634: At the age of eleven, he made a little “sound treatise” and he demonstrated the 32nd proposition of the first book of Euclid.

1635: At the age of twelve, he worked alone on geometry and he discovered that the sum of angles equaled 180°.

1639: The family settled in Rouen where Etienne Pascal became the super intendant chosen by the king to collect taxes.

1641: At the age of eighteen, Blaise Pascal built the “Pascaline”, a calculation machine able to do additions and subtractions. 

Pascaline La Pascaline

 

1646: Blaise Pascal’s father had an accident. His father was treated by two Jansenist doctors. After, he decided to become a Jansenist too.

1647: Blaise Pascal was very ill and wasn’t able to walk without crutches. He went to Paris with his sister Jacqueline. His health became a little better with but his nerves were definitely damaged and it made him nearly always angry.
1648 to 1654: He was a socialite. He often went to parties and forgot, in a sort of way, his religious convictions. At the same time, he made many experiences about the vacuum, inspired by Torricelli. For example, in 1648, he proved the existence of the atmospheric pressure and demonstrated that vacuum was real.

1651: His father died and his sister decided to enter the abbey of Port-Royal in Paris even if Pascal disagreed.

1653: He reconciled with Jacqueline. At the moment, Pascal was rich and free. He bought a big beautiful house in Paris and worked on probabilities. For a short time, he went to Auvergne, where he went on with his work about vacuum.

1654: At the end of the year, he had an accident on the bridge of Neuilly. Pascal was terrified by this experience. He felt the “closeness of death”. He vanished and stayed unconscious for fifteen days. When awoken the 23rd of November 1654, he felt God’s presence. He wrote his sensations in the “Memorial”.

1655: He decided to retire and went to Port-Royal. He began to live only for his religious convictions. He wrote his most important book: “Les Provinciales”.

1659: His disease worsened. He tried to organize all his notes.

1661: His sister died and he stopped his religious fights.

1662: He invented the first public transport with the Duke of Roannez. It was a kind of horse-drawn coach with eight seats. It cost five “sols” (the money used that time) so it was very cheap and everybody (even the poor) was able to use it. It was called “le carrosse à cinq sols”.
On the 21st of August, he died. His notes were found, sewn in his clothes.


Blaise Pascal

Vocabulary:

crutches: béquilles

to be a socialite: mener une vie mondaine

vacuum : vide

closeness : proximité

to vanish : s’évanouir

disease : maladie

to worsen : empirer

horse - drawn coach : carrosse

to sew (sewed, sewn/sewed) : coudre

 

   Blaise Pascal à la manière de Picasso

Léa Basmaison, Fatima Boumali, Céline Ferraris, Izia Mabru et Anne - Sophie Nicolas
Lycée Blaise Pascal -  Anglais - Année 2008/2009

 
     

 

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