|Pascal, Blaise 1623-1662. |
French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher who, with Pierre de Fermat, developed the mathematical theory of probability. He also contributed to the development of differential calculus, and he invented the mechanical calculator and the syringe. The pascal unit of pressure is named after him.
A seventeenth-century French mathematician, scientist, and religious thinker. Pascal came to believe that reason alone could not satisfy people's hopes and aspirations and that religious faith was therefore necessary. His religious thoughts are collected in Pensées (Thoughts).
Note: “Pascal's wager” refers to Pascal's idea that it is prudent to believe in God's existence, as little can be lost if there is no God, and eternal happiness can be gained if there is one.