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Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher, who laid the foundation for the modern theory of probabilities.
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Regarding his physical health, he was described as "a man of slight build with a loud voice and somewhat overbearing manner. … [H]e lived most of his adult life in great pain. He had always been in delicate health, suffering even in his youth from migraine." Over the years, Pascal’s constant work took a toll on his already fragile health.
Pascal died of a malignant stomach tumor at his sister Gilbrete's house in Paris on August 19, 1662. By then,
the tumor had metastasized in his brain. He was 39 years old at the time of his death. His complex personality has been described as "precocious, stubbornly persevering, a perfectionist, pugnacious to the point of bullying ruthlessness yet seeking to be meek and humble."
Pascal's inventions and discoveries have been instrumental to developments in the fields of geometry, physics and computer science. His exploration of binomial coefficients influenced Sir Isaac Newton, leading him to uncover his "general binomial theorem for fractional and negative powers."
In the 1970s, the Pascal (Pa) unit was named after Blaise Pascal, in honor of his contributions to the understanding of atmospheric pressure and how it could be estimated in terms of weight. The Pascal is a unit of pressure that constitutes the force of a single newton acting on a square-meter surface. It is measured using the meter-kilogram-second system, which relies on an extended version of the metric system to calculate pressure.
In 1972, computer scientist Nicklaus Wirth invented a computer language and insisted on naming it after Pascal. This was Wirth's way of memorializing Pascal's invention of the Pascaline, one of the earliest forms of the modern computer. Pascal is also credited with building the foundation of probability theory.
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