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.
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.