Pascal

Of Gallic origin, born in Clermont-Ferrand on June 19, 1623, Blaise Pascal was a mathematician, physicist and philosopher, who is a fundamental figure and considered one of the most privileged minds in Western history and science.

Pascal was the main driving force behind the foundations of what would later become modern calculators and computers. In addition, his contributions to the theory of probability, his extensive research on fluids and his conception of pressure and vacuum are also counted among his achievements.

Pascal's curiosity and genius

Under the protective mantle of his father, Blaise Pascal showed early signs of his genius and established himself as a true mathematical prodigy. In fact, at just 16 years of age, he formulated one of the basic theorems of projective geometry, known as Pascal's theorem and described in his Essay on Conics.

At the age of 30, Pascal published a treatise in which he described the subject of hydrostatics, thereby laying the foundation for the study of atmospheric pressure.

Lover of the game of bet and chance, something very common among the nobility of the time, that same year of 1653 Pascal began to study the characteristics of the theory of probability.

Later, in 1654, the French mathematician and philosopher dedicated himself to making various publications related to proof by mathematical induction, based on the combination and order of numbers.

Pascal's theorem

Also known as Pascal's mystical hexagon, Pascal's theorem was published in 1639 in The Essay on Conics. This theorem supposes the explanation that, if a hexagon is inscribed in a conic section, then the points of intersection of the pairs of the opposite sides are collinear, that is, they will create a straight line.

This great work brings together all the properties of conic sections in a single example, and became an unprecedented advance in the application of projections and projective geometry, principles used fundamentally in art and architecture.< /p>

The existence of the void

Pascal also demonstrated in his 1647 work the existence of the void, thus challenging Aristotelian and Descartes' thinking. He experimented with mercury and the barometer, thus demonstrating what Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647) had previously theorized.

In this way, Pascal managed to prove what many believed impossible: that the space above a liquid inside a barometer is nothing more than a vacuum. This discovery paved the way for his next study on atmospheric pressure.

Atmospheric pressure

Although the subject of atmospheric pressure had already been dealt with previously, Pascal's contribution in this regard was decisive. He filled two barometers with mercury (B1 and B2). B1 was moved to the top of a mountain and B2 was left at the bottom of the mountain.

It turned out that the mercury level remained constant in B2, but as B1 rose, the mercury level fell. In this way, Pascal showed that the higher the altitude, the lower the atmospheric pressure. This experiment would end up laying the foundations for the study of hydrodynamics and hydrostatics.

The theory of probability

Pascal formulated, together with Pierre de Fermat, the theory of probability in the year 1654. He made use of his famous and infinite Pascal's triangle, in order to shape this theory, since probabilities can be calculated in a certain way. way if you take into consideration what has been happening before them.

The theory of probability was applied with the following example: if a game of chance is interrupted before it can be finished, the winnings must be shared.And so, by using the Pascal and Fermat triangle, they established the numerical probabilities with mathematical precision and thus be able to distribute the profit fairly .