GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blaise Pascal. Portrait of French mathematician, physicist, inventor and philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-62). Pascal invented a mechanical calculating engine or calculator, also known as a pascaline, when aged only 19. The pascaline used cogged wheels to perform additions and subtractions, and it is thought that about 70 of them were built. Pascal also made contributions to geometry, hydrostatics and, with Fermat, founded probability theory. After nearly dying in 1654, Pascal abandoned mathematics in favour of philos- ophy. The unit of pressure, the Pascal, was named after him to honour his work on hydrostatics. This artwork is from a book published in 1833/37.
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