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Born Clermont-Ferrand 19 June 1623 Pascals ancestors were rich merchants that attained the highest ranks of the burgess class His father Etienne was a royal tax officer and a member of the petit noblesse Although there is no explicit word about the financial status of the father that ancestry of rich merchants together with all the circumstances of Pascals life seem clearly to state that he grew up in wealthy circumstances Pascal appears to have had no formal education As a young child his father took charge of his education He continued his education in the salons and scientific gatherings he attended with his father as a young man in Paris In 1646 he had his first conversion experience and was attracted to the teaching of Saint-Cyran whose views were close to Jansenism Pascal kept his ties with the Port Royalists for the rest of his life He even came to the aid of the Jansenists against the Jesuits In 1640 Pascal wrote an essay on conics extending the work of Desargues in projective geometry This essay was meant to be the outline of a much larger work but it was never published Only a few scholars like Leibniz and de la Hire saw the manuscript Pascal began work on his calculating machine in 1642 For three years he worked to develop a working model In 1649 he received a monopoly for maufacturing and producing his calculating machine He began his barometric experiments in 1646 and continued them for eight years He asserted that his experiments in the statics of gases and liquids contradicted the doctrine of horror vacui In 1654 he completed a shorter work devoted to the laws of hydrostatics and to the demonstration and description of the various effects of the weight of air This work Trait de lquilibre was published posthumously by his brother-in-law Perier who participated in many of Pascals experiments Upon the completion of his work on hydrostatics Pascal
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