School of Information Science - Hall of Fame

Blaise Pascal
  • Blaise Pascal
  • Born: June 19, 1623
  • Died: August 19, 1662
  • Field: Mathematics
  • Focus: Contributed many theories to the disciplines of mathematics, physics, and philosophy, including construction of mechanical calculators.
  • Country: France
  • Era: Pre-1800s

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. His contributions to the natural sciences include the construction of mechanical calculators, considerations on probability theory, studies of fluids, and clarification of concepts such as pressure and vacuum. Following a profound religious experience in 1654, Pascal abandoned mathematics and physics for philosophy and theology. In honor to his scientific contributions, the name pascal has been given to a unit of pressure and to a programming language, as well as to many mathematical concepts.

Pascal is one of the landmark computer programming languages on which generations of students cut their teeth and variants of which are still widely used today. TeX and much of the original Macintosh operating system were written in Pascal. The Swiss computer scientist Niklaus Wirth developed Pascal in 1970, first as a hypothetical language that would encourage students to write structured code. Pascal is based on the Algol programming language and is named in honor of mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. Wirth also developed Modula-2 and Oberon, languages similar to Pascal which also support object-oriented programming

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