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Blaise Pascal

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Blaise Pascal, French scientist, mathematician, and philosopher, may be best remembered for developing (with Fermet) the modern theory of probability and for his religious philosophy. However, he also conducted significant and extensive experiments on the properties of fluids, through them demonstrating that air has weight, establishing the first conclusive proof of the pressure of the atmosphere, and demonstrating the barometric effects of altitude. His experiments with liquids led to the formulation of Pascal’s Law (which states that in a fluid at rest, the pressure is transmitted equally in all directions) and completed the theory of hydrostatics. Discussions of his experiments were published posthumously (1663) in his Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids and Treatise on the Weight of the Mass of the Air.

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Pascal in the History of Hydraulics Collection:

  • Traitez de l’Equilibre des Liqueurs et de la Pesanteur de la Masse de l’Air (Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids and Treatise on the Weight of the Mass of the Air). (Original edition of Pascal’s writings, published 1663, Paris)  (Call number: QC143 P38)
  • Traitez de l’Equilibre des Liqueurs et de la Pesanteur de la Masse de l’Air (First reprinting, published 1664, Paris) (Call number: QC143 P38 1664)
  • Traitez de l’Equilibre des Liqueurs et de la Pesanteur de la Masse de l’Air (Second reprinting, published 1698, Paris) (Call number: QC143 P38 1698)
  • The Physical Treatises of Pascal: The Equilibrium of Liquids and the Weight of the Mass of the Air (English translation by IHB and AGH Spiers, published by Columbia University Press, New York, 1937)  (Call number:QC143 P33 1937)
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Last modified on June 29th, 2015
Posted on April 14th, 2011

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