Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

David Vella

Second Reader

Erica Bastress-Dukehart

Abstract

This final project primarily discusses how Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, two French seventeenth century mathematicians, founded the field of mathematical Probability and how this area continued to evolve after their contributions. Also included in this project is an analysis of how Pascal and Fermat were affected, or not, in their mathematical work by the widespread impact that the Catholic Church had on life in France during this time period. I further discuss two other central discoveries by these theorists: Pascal’s Triangle and Fermat’s Last Theorem. Lastly, the project analyzes how all of these aspects: the influence of the contemporary religion of the period on science and mathematics, Pascal’s discoveries, and Fermat’s different method of approach, impacted the trajectory of mathematical history.

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