Pascal
Melvyn Bragg and his guests begin a new series of the programme with a discussion of the French polymath Blaise Pascal. Born in 1623, Pascal was a brilliant mathematician and scientist, inventing one of the first mechanical calculators and making important discoveries about fluids and vacuums while still a young man. In his thirties he experienced a religious conversion, after which he devoted most of his attention to philosophy and theology. Although he died in his late thirties, Pascal left a formidable legacy as a scientist and pioneer of probability theory, and as one of seventeenth century Europe’s greatest writers.
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Guests
 David Wootton
16 episodes
Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York 
Michael Moriarty No other episodes
Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge  Michela Massimi
4 episodes
Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh
Reading list

Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about God
Donald Adamson (Palgrave Macmillan, 1994) Google Books → 
Pascal: 'Pensees', Critical Guides to French Texts
John Cruickshank (Grant & Cutler, 1998) Google Books → 
The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the SeventeenthCentury Letter that Made the World Modern
Keith Devlin (Basic Books, 2010) Google Books → 
The Cambridge Companion to Pascal
Nicholas Hammond (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2003) Google Books → 
Pascal (Past Masters)
A. J. Krailsheimer (Oxford University Press, 1980) Google Books → 
Pensees
Blaise Pascal (trans. A. J. Krailsheimer) (Penguin Classics, 1995) Google Books → 
Designing Experiments and Games of Chance: The Unconventional Science of Blaise Pascal
William Shea (Science History Publications, 2008) Google Books →
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Programme ID: b03b2v6m
Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03b2v6m
Autocategory: 510.92 (Biography of mathematicians and scientists)
Hello (First sentence from this episode)
Hello. The first practical calculating machine was invented in 1642 by the 19yearold son of a tax inspector who wanted to find a way to make his father's job easier.