Over the course of his short life, Pascal gave significant contributions in several fields spanning from philosophy to natural sciences including mathematics, engineering, and physics. He completed the work of Torricelli on atmospheric pressure, and he conceived early calculating machines.
Pascal made a significant critical reflection on what we would call “artificial intelligence”: “La machine d’arithmétique fait des effets qui approchent plus de la pensée que tout ce que font les animaux; mais elle ne fait rien qui puisse faire dire qu’elle a de la volonté, comme les animaux" ("The arithmetical machine does things closer to the outcomes of thoughts than all actions of animals; but it does nothing that would let us claim that it has a will, as animals would”) – Les Pensées, fragment 341.
The Swiss and the Austrian Physical Society, in partnership with the French Physical Society, will organize a Symposium to celebrate this anniversary during their joint annual meeting in Basel. The format will follow that of the Symposium organized in 2021 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Johannes Kepler, four lectures will cover the history and the impact of Pascal’s work from the beginning to the present day.
More information will be available soon at the link on the right.