Pascal and Fermat: The Probability Pen Pals

By Robert Black

$15.00

Class sets 10 or more print books: $12.00 each
Order code: 7060S

In the early 1650s, a French aristocrat posed a gambling question to Blaise Pascal, one of the most brilliant scientists and philosophers of the time. To figure it out, Pascal wrote to his countryman Pierre de Fermat, arguably the greatest “amateur” mathematician of all time. The two men exchanged a series of letters that laid the foundation of what we know today as probability theory.

Description

In the early 1650s, a French aristocrat posed a gambling question to Blaise Pascal, one of the most brilliant scientists and philosophers of the time. But even Pascal needed help. The idea of seeing the future—even seeing a possible future—was so alien that he needed to discuss it with someone else. So he contacted his countryman Pierre de Fermat, arguably the greatest “amateur” mathematician of all time. During the course of several months, the two men exchanged a series of letters that laid the foundation of what we know today as probability theory. In those letters, they changed the world.

There’s a “Doing the Math” section at the end of the book so that readers can try working out the math themselves!

Details

Series
Mathematical Lives: Biographies of Mathematicians
Ages
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Grades
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Subjects
Mathematics, History, Novels
Pages
106
ISBN
978-0-89824-706-0
Order Code
7060

Reviews

“This is the story of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) and Pierre de Fermat (1607-1665), and how through letters, they developed the foundational concepts of modern probability theory.

“The book, like all the others in the series, is divided into ten short chapters…. The math is sprinkled here and there, always written in an accessible manner, in digestible chunks. The author is writing for a young but curious audience, and it seems to me that he knows well how to keep them interested, how to zero in on the crux of the issue at hand, and how to impart a significant amount of math accurately all the while keeping things still manageable.

“…The author is especially skilled at making connections and finding contexts for the math he is talking about that would be comprehensible to a young bunny, or a curious adult bunny.” – Sprinkles’ Reviews, Book Bunnies Blog (click here to read the full review)