By D. Adamson
This quantity includes a chronological survey exploring Pascal's (1623-62) success as a mathematician, physicist and spiritual philosopher, and a bankruptcy on his lifestyles. His paintings on conic sections, the likelihood calculus, quantity concept, cycloid curves and hydrostatics is taken into account intimately. Analyses of the "Provincial Letters" and the "Thoughts" deliver out the special positive aspects, thematic and technical, of every textual content. Pascal's lesser identified works and the guess argument also are studied.
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Additional info for Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about God
He has, in short, been raised to the mythological status of a cult figure, or scapegoat, symbolic of the values of a particular civilization or way or view of life. And sometimes his characteristics have been generalized to the point of seeming representative of human nature as a whole. His symbolic status - something quite independent of the man, and the thinker, as he 'really' was - is particularly evident in the perceptions of him 20 Blaise Pascal expressed by Voltaire, Nietzsche and Aldous Huxley; these perceptions were generally unfavourable.
Of the research he highlights in his 'Address' (73-4, 1402-4) the following treatises have either disappeared or else were not written: 'Conical Contacts' (on the determination of conies from five given elements, points or tangents) and 'Solid Loci' 31 (which, by way of contrast to Descartes's analytical treatment of Pappus's problem, 32 34 Blaise Pascal used projective geometry to produce an alternative solution); 'The French Apollonius Improved Upon' 3 3 and 'Spherical Contacts', both of which were (or were intended to be) geometrical demonstrations of the contacts of spheres and circles; three lesser geometrical exercises; 35 and 'On Magic Numbers', which would have dealt (or did deal) with that subject of perennial fascination to mathematicians, magic squares.
He thus discovered that there is some force which resists the formation of a void either real or apparent - whatever it is that is produced at the upper end of the experimental tube - and that, within narrow limits at least, this force is measurable and constant. It is measured, for example, by the tendency of a column of mercury 27" high to run down, being equal, in a tube of uniform diameter, to the weight of such a column. Any force greater than this will produce a void. If, therefore, a column of some other substance is used, the height of that column must be to the height of mercury inversely as the density of the first is to the density of the second.
Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about God by D. Adamson