Blaise Pascal's chief accomplishments included the invention of a mechanical calculator, the development of Pascal's triangle and the refutation of the belief in the impossibility of vacuums. Pascal was also a devout Christian whose two theological works are widely considered among the most important in Western literature.Continue Reading
Biography.com states that Pascal was the son of a tax collector. To make his father's work easier, he invented a mechanical calculator known as the Pascaline. Pascal's invention had eight numerical dials that represented numerical digits such as ones, tens and hundreds. It could add, subtract and multiply. Although the Pascaline had glitches and fell off the market a year after its introduction, it remained an influential predecessor to the modern calculator.
Pascal was a skilled mathematician. According to Wikipedia, one of his most important contributions to mathematics was the introduction of Pascal's triangle, a triangular display of the binomial coefficients. In the realm of physical science, Pascal used mercury in an experiment that demonstrated the existence of vacuums. This sparked controversy in the scientific community, which had long held with Aristotle's assumption that vacuums did not exist.
Pascal became a Christian believer after a personal religious experience in 1654. His first theological work, "The Provincial Letters," was a controversial assault on prevailing religious tenets that Pascal felt justified moral laxity. His second religious treatise, "Pensées," was a sweeping defense of Christianity against popular secularist trends. Scholars rate it as one of the greatest works in French prose.Learn more about Inventions
Louis Pasteur made several scientific contributions, including his invention of pasteurization and vaccines and his development of the germ theory. As a microbiologist and chemist, he sought to create a solution to the spoiling of milk, wine and beer. He understood that bacteria introduced from the environment led to spoiling and invented pasteurization, in which the product is boiled and then cooled to kill bacteria and extend the shelf life.Full Answer >
Gustavus Swift is credited with the development of the first refrigerator train car, though the invention was actually created by an engineer employed underneath him. This invention made the meat industry into Chicago's premiere industry, creating a distribution network of packed edible meat from Chicago to the eastern United States.Full Answer >
The invention of the steam engine made life easier because it improved transportation methods, aided the development of industry, and opened new opportunities for an emerging middle class. The steam engine is credited with sparking the industrial revolution.Full Answer >
Some examples of Pascal's principle, also known as the principle of transmission of fluid-pressure or Pascal's law, can be found in the operation of hydraulic jacks, hydraulic lifts and motor vehicle braking systems. According to Pascal's law, when pressure is exerted on an enclosed and incompressible fluid, that pressure is transmitted undiminished throughout the fluid. By exerting a force to a fluid at one end of a closed system over a small surface area, that same force can be transmitted to the opposite end of the system across a larger surface area with an increased magnitude.Full Answer >