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Color enhanced portrait of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, Catholic philosopher and child prodigy. He made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum. While still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines, and after three years of effort he invented the mechanical calculator. His Traite du triangle arithmetique ('Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle') of 1653 described a convenient tabular presentation for binomial coefficients, now called Pascal's triangle. Prompted by a friend interested in gambling problems, he corresponded with Fermat on the subject, and from that collaboration was born the mathematical theory of.
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