Pascal

Listen in pop-out player

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.

With:

David Wootton
Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York

Michael Moriarty
Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge

Michela Massimi
Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 19 Sep 2013 21:30

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

David Wootton at the University of York

 

Michael Moriarty at the University of Cambridge

 

Michela Massimi at the University of Edinburgh

 

Blaise Pascal - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

Pascal's Wager - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

Blaise Pascal - Wikipedia

 

 

READING LIST:

 

Donald Adamson, Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about God (Palgrave Macmillan, 1994)

 

John Cruickshank, Pascal: ‘Pensées’, Critical Guides to French Texts (Grant & Cutler, 1998)

 

Keith Devlin, The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern (Basic Books, 2010)

 

Nicholas Hammond (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Pascal (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

 

A. J. Krailsheimer, Pascal (Past Masters) (Oxford University Press, 1980)

 

Blaise Pascal (trans. A. J. Krailsheimer), Pensées (Penguin Classics, 1995)

 

William Shea, Designing Experiments and Games of Chance: The Unconventional Science of Blaise Pascal (Science History Publications, 2008)

 

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestDavid Wootton
Interviewed GuestMichela Massimi
Interviewed GuestMichael Moriarty
ProducerThomas Morris

Featured in...

Download this programme

Download this episode

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

In Our Time Archive: A new way to find the programmes you want to hear

Free Will

We've created a new way to search through the programmes and would like your help.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Watch animations from A History of Ideas

The Libet Experiment

Explore some big questions about how we live today.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss