Blaise Pascal widely known playing a key role in laying the foundations of probability theory was born in Clermont-Ferrant, France. He was the son of a civil servant who was quite interested in the fields of science and math, eventually passing that interest to Pascal.

By the age of 16, Pascal had published his first math paper. By the time he was 18, he had invented the first digital calculator.

Pascal grew up accepting the Bible as God’s word, but in a rather abstract way. He looked into Jansenism, a Catholic reform movement that emphasized the Augustinian (and Calvinist) concept of grace. Nonetheless, he lived with a sense of spiritual desperation. Disgusted with himself he once wrote: “If one does not know himself to be full of pride, ambition, concupiscence, weakness, pettiness, injustice, one is very blind. And if, knowing this, a man does not desire to be delivered, what can one say to him?” (source)

His devotion to Christianity lead him to focus on religious writings as opposed to math and science.

In 1660 Pascal instituted the world’s first public transport service, giving all profits to the poor.