Gilberte Pascal: The life of Pascal

But since my father had been so careful to conceal all these [mathematical objects] from him that he did not even know their names, he ws forced to invent his own manes. Thus he called a circle a 'round' and a line a [rod], and similarly for all the rest. Using these names, he set up axioms and finally complete proofs. And since, in this matter, one proceeds from one thing to another, he continued to make progress and pushed his investigations to the point where he reached the thirtysecond proposition of Book I of Euclid [sum of the angles of a triangle is 180^{q}]. And just as he was occupied with this, my father happened to enter the room in which he was working, without my brother hearing him. He found my brother so busy that for some time he was not aware of my father's entrance. It is impossible to say who was the more surprised; the son when he saw his father and thought of the explicit prohibition the latter had uttered, or the father, when he found his son thus occupied. The astonishment of the father was even greater, however, when he asked his son whet he was doing and the latter answered that he was investigating a certain matter  which turned out to be Proposition 32 of Book I of Euclid. my father was so shocked by the greatness and ability of this genius that he left him without saying a word. ...


JOC/EFR August 2007
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