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Blaise Pascal. Portrait of Blaise Pascal (1623- 62), French mathematician, physicist and inventor of the mechanical calculating engine, with one of his devices. He invented this calculator, also known as a pascaline, when aged only 19. The pascaline used cogged wheels to perform additions and subtractions. It is thought that about 70 of these machines were constructed. Pascal also made contributions to geometry, hydrostatics, and with Fermat founded probability theory. After nearly dying in 1654, Pascal abandoned mathematics in favour of philosophy. Image taken from Machines approuvees par l'Academie Royale des Sciences (1735).
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