Pascal and his life table.
Pascal was a child prodigy, who was educated by his father. He was a mathematician of the first order. At 16 he wrote the Essai pour les coniques which was published in 1640. In 1642 he invented a calculating machine to help his father, who served as Royal Tax Commissioner at Rouen. Pascal is often credited with the discovery of the mathematical theory of probability, and he also made serious contributions to number theory and geometry.
In 1646 Pascal learned of Toricelli's experiments with the barometer and the theory of air preassure. These experiments involved placing a tube of mercury…
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