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Download Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about by D. Adamson PDF

By D. Adamson

This quantity includes a chronological survey exploring Pascal's (1623-62) fulfillment as a mathematician, physicist and spiritual philosopher, and a bankruptcy on his existence. His paintings on conic sections, the chance calculus, quantity conception, cycloid curves and hydrostatics is taken into account intimately. Analyses of the "Provincial Letters" and the "Thoughts" deliver out the specified positive aspects, thematic and technical, of every textual content. Pascal's lesser recognized works and the bet argument also are studied.

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Extra resources for Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist and Thinker about God

Sample text

Though Napier had published his system of logarithms in 1614, this ingenious technique both for multiplying and dividing and for involution and evolution was not of any real value to Etienne Pascal. There is evidence that Blaise intended to go on from the desktop calculator to a machine capable of extracting square roots; but such a device would have had no immediate utility, and it is eminently characteristic of Pascal that he appears to have taken it no further. The second phase of his scientific activity ends on a practical note.

It was above all imperative for the honnete homme - the gentleman, the man of taste, dignity and good breeding - to adjust himself, both in his words and actions, to the outlook and susceptibilities of those with whom he came into contact.

50 It remained for Huygens 51 and Jakob Bernoulli, during the next fifty or so years, to develop the tools and skills which the probability calculus demanded. Remond de Montmort and De Moivre supplied practical applications of the new methods in 1708 and in 1718 and 1725. In his work on the binomial expansion in the Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle (97-171 ) 52 Pascal investigated binomial coefficients and laid the foundations of the binomial theorem. 53 A triangular array of numbers consists of ones written on the vertical leg and on the hypotenuse of a rightangled isosceles triangle; each other element composing the triangle is the sum of the element directly above it and of the element above it and to the left.

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