The History of Pascal's Triangle

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The history of Pascal's triangle begins with the Indians and the Persians who first started working on this pattern of numbers, and it developed through China in the 13th century hundreds of years before Pascal was even born. Learn about the evolution of Pascal's triangle with instructions from a college-level math teacher in this free video on geometry.

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Video Transcript

What is the history of Pascal's triangle? Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang, I've been teaching college mathematics for 9 years and we're here to answer exactly that albeit in a very brief fashion. Now with Pascal's triangle, the one thing that a lot of people probably don't know is that it actually wasn't invented by Pascal. A lot of work was done on Pascal's triangle before Pascal was even alive but he was the one that took all of the results, compiled it so that it made sense and therefore his, he got the triangle named after him. Well actually a couple of mathematicians named it after him for him, but anyway. Here's a brief history as to how the triangle came about. Indians the Persian mathematicians first started work on this pattern of numbers back in the 10th and 11th centuries. That was when the triangle first got it's start. Again, this would be about 500 years before Pascal really even had a chance to work with it. Now a Chinese mathematician by the name of Yang Hui in the 13th century worked on this exact pattern of which Pascal's triangle of that we know it today. The exact same numbers, the exact same rows. As a result, the Chinese will not name this pattern Pascal's triangle, they name the triangle after this man, Yang Hui. It is known as Yang Hui's triangle in China. There were some European mathematicians who continued to work on this, but it wasn't until 1655 when Pascal put all of the results together, compiled it and put it together on his treatise on the arithmetical, that's how it's written, arithmetical triangle and it wasn't until the 1700's when two mathematicians named this triangle pattern of numbers after him. So I'm Jimmy Chang and this has been a brief history on Pascal's triangle.


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