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Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, inventor, and theologian

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Before Pascal turned 13 he had proven the 32-nd proposition of Euclid and discovered an error in Rene Descartes geometry. At 16, Pascal began preparing to write a study of the entire field of mathematics, but his father required his time to hand total long columns of numbers. Pascal began designing a calculating machine, which he finally perfected when he was thirty, , a beautiful handcrafted box about fourteen by five by three inches. The first accurate mechanical calculator was born. The Pacaline was not a commercial success in Pascal's lifetime; it could do the work of six persons, people feared it would create unemployment.

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In 1653 he had to administer his father's estate. He now took up his old life again, and made several experiments on the pressure exerted by gases and liquids; it was also about this period that he invented the arithmetical triangle, and together with Fermat created the calculus of probabilities. He was meditating marriage when an accident again turned the current of his thoughts to a religious life. He was driving a four-in-hand on November 23, 1654, when the horses ran away; the two leaders dashed over the parapet of the bridge at Neuilly, and Pascal was saved only by the traces breaking. Always somewhat of a mystic, he considered this a special summons to abandon the world. He wrote an account of the accident on a small piece of parchment, which for the rest of his life he wore next to his heart, to perpetually remind him of his covenant; and shortly moved to Port Royal, where he continued to live until his death in 1662. Constitutionally delicate, he had injured his health by his incessant study; from the age of seventeen or eighteen he suffered from insomnia and acute dyspepsia, and at the time of his death was physically worn out.

 

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Under extremely high pressures, the target material may remain in its initial phase, or it may change from a solid to a liquid or from one solid phase to another. To date, laser-ramp-compression experiments have achieved pressures up to 1,400 gigapascals (GPa), or 1.4 × 1012 pascals. For reference, ambient air pressure is 100,000 pascals, and the pressure at the center of Earth is about 350 GPa.

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Blaise Pascal was born at Clermont, France, on June 19, 1623, and died at Paris on Aug. 19, 1662. His father, a local judge at Clermont, and himself enjoyed some scientific reputation. They moved to Paris in 1631, partly to persue his own scientific studies, partly to carry on the education of his only son, who had already displayed exceptional abilities. Pascal was kept at home in order to ensure his not being overworked, and with the same purpose it was directed that his education should be at first confined to the study of languages, and should not include any mathematics. This naturally excited the boy's curiosity, and one day, being then twelve years old, he asked of what geometry consisted. His tutor replied that it was the science of constructing exact figures and of determining the proportions between their different parts. Pascal, stimulated no doubt by the injunction against reading it, gave up his play-time to this new study, and in a few weeks had discovered for himself many properties of figures, and in particular the proposition that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles.


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At the age of fourteen he was admitted to the weekly meetings of Roberval, Mersenne, Mydorge, and other French geometricians; from which, ultimately, the French Academy sprung. At sixteen Pascal wrote an essay on conic sections; and in 1641, at the age of eighteen, he constructed the first arithmetical machine, an instrument which, eight years later, he further improved. His correspondence with Fermat about this time shows that he was then turning his attention to analytical geometry and physics. He repeated Torricelli's experiments, by which the pressure of the atmosphere could be estimated as a weight, and he confirmed his theory of the cause of barometrical variations by obtaining at the same instant readings at different altitudes on the hill of Puy-de-Dôme.