Q:

What did Blaise Pascal accomplish?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

Know More

Full Answer

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

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did Ernest Rutherford accomplish?

    A:

    Through the Gold Foil Experiments he performed during his graduate studies, Ernest Rutherford discovered that atoms held a nucleus. These experiments and the findings were published in 1911. During this experiment, Rutherford's associate Hans Geiger initiated the beginnings of the Geiger counter as well.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Pascal's Triangle used for today?

    A:

    Pascal's Triangle, named after French mathematician Blaise Pascal, is used in various algebraic processes, such as finding tetrahedral and triangular numbers, powers of two, exponents of 11, squares, Fibonacci sequences, combinations and polynomials. The triangle was actually invented by the Indians and Chinese 350 years before Pascal's time.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who invented the truss bridge?

    A:

    Truss bridges are largely an invention of the Industrial Revolution. There are numerous styles of truss bridges, but the lattice truss bridge is one of the earliest designs and was patented in 1820 by architect Ithiel Town.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who invented the toothpick?

    A:

    No single person is credited with the invention of the toothpick. Grooves on the teeth of Neanderthal and Homo sapiens skulls suggest that they used a tool to remove materials from their teeth. Charles Forster was the first to mass produce toothpicks for the American market in the mid-19th century.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore