There are few names which have become more classical in modern literature than that of Blaise Pascal. There is hardly any name more famous at once in literature, science, and religion. Cut off at the early age of thirty-nine—the fatal age of genius—he had long before attained pre-eminent distinction as a geometer and discoverer in physical science; while the rumour of his genius as the author of the ‘Provincial Letters,’ and as one of the chiefs of a notable school of religious thought, had spread far and wide.
cious scientific capacities. His father, perceiving his strong scientific bent, and desirous that he should first of all acquaint himself with languages before the absorption of the severer, but more engrossing, study seized him, had withdrawn from his sight all mathematical books, and carefully avoided the subject in the presence of his son when his friends were present. This, as might be expected, only quickened the curiosity of the boy, who frequently begged his father to teach him mathematics, and the father promised to do so as a reward when he knew Latin and Greek, which he was then learning. Piqued by this resistance, the boy asked one day, â€œWhat mathematical science was, and of what it treated?â€ He was told that its aim was to make figures correctly, and to find their right relations or proportions to one another. He began, says his sister, to meditate during his play-hours on the information thus communicated to him.
â€œAnd being alone in a room
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