Pascal, Blaise - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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Technology, Experiment, Theory

Hearing about Evangelista Torricelli's experiment with the barometer (a glass tube of mercury inverted in a bowl of mercury), Pascal undertook in 1646 to carry out variations of the experiment and then explained the results, showing that atmospheric pressure decreases (the mercury level drops) with increasing altitude. He discovered the basic principle of hydrostatics, Pascal's Law: In a fluid at rest in a closed container, a pressure change in one part is transmitted without loss to every portion of the fluid and the walls of the container. (The SI unit of pressure is the pascal.) He invented the syringe and the hydraulic press.

These developments had revolutionary impact on scientific thought, as they refuted the Aristotelian doctrine that there is no vacuum. Pascal asserted that in studying nature careful experiment and logical thinking must take precedence over respect for authority (Preface

Blaise Pascal, 16231662. The French scientist and philosopher was a precocious and influential mathematical writer, a master of the French language, and a great religious philosopher. (The Library of Congress.) Blaise Pascal, 1623–1662. The French...

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This section contains 1,248 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Pascal, Blaise Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Pascal, Blaise from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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