By D. Adamson

This quantity includes a chronological survey exploring Pascal's (1623-62) success as a mathematician, physicist and non secular philosopher, and a bankruptcy on his lifestyles. His paintings on conic sections, the likelihood calculus, quantity idea, cycloid curves and hydrostatics is taken into account intimately. Analyses of the "Provincial Letters" and the "Thoughts" convey out the specified good points, thematic and technical, of every textual content. Pascal's lesser identified works and the guess argument also are studied.

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Additional resources for Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about God

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Working in mathematics as well as in physics, Pascal had to wait until September 1648 for the final and decisive step to be taken in his contribution to physics. Why he did not himself travel to Auvergne to be near, if not present at, his great experiment is not known. The reason for his absence from the scene was probably medical. As late as 1780, it took eight days to travel by coach from Paris to Clermont. But he was informed of the complete success of the experiment in a letter written by his brother-in-law three days after its occurrence (395-9).

Tt is not fitting . . that we should be without grief over Etienne's death, 'like angels which have none of the sentiments of nature; but equally, it is not fitting that we should be without consolation, like pagans who have none of the sentiments of grace: but it is fitting that we should be both distressed and comforted, like true Christians, and that the consolation of grace should prevail over the sentiments of nature' (499). Here, therefore, the paradox and the contradictions are already present in embryo which Pascal will use to disarming advantage in the Thoughts.

Conversely, when the impermeable membrane was pierced at the top of the whole apparatus, air rushed in, the mercury within the pipette rose under the pressure of the atmosphere bearing down upon the higher trough, whilst the mercury in the long tube drained out into the trough below. This, whichever of the two young men devised it, was an experiment which definitively refuted the Cartesian hypotheses of vortices and ether. Working in mathematics as well as in physics, Pascal had to wait until September 1648 for the final and decisive step to be taken in his contribution to physics.

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