Chapters 11-12: The Body-Switching Record
The oldest record of what we now call "Pascal's Triangle" is from a book written around the year 575 by an Indian mathematician named Varāhamihira - and he was quoting a much older book that has been lost to history. A Persian mathematician named Abu Bakr Al-Karaji studied the pattern in the late 900s, and a Chinese mathematician named Jia Xian studied it sometime around the year 1050. So by the time Blaise Pascal began his studies, the pattern was already known to mathematicians across Europe and Asia.
Varāhamihira Abu Bakr Al-Karaji
Jia Xian's representation of "Pascal's Triangle." Pascal's representation of what he called the "Arithmetical Triangle."
To his credit, Pascal never claimed to have discovered the pattern, and he didn't name it after himself. His contribution was the way he organized all the different uses the pattern has, and then using it in a new way, to solve problems in probability. His book, Traité du triangle arithmétique ("Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle"), published in 1665 after his death, presented his work to the world.
See if you can continue Pascal's Triangle and see how many body-switches the wizards could do if they had 15 people!



Click here to return to the Night of the Paranormal Patterns page.