|Pascal1 (French paskal)|
|Blaise (blɛz). 1623--62, French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist. As a scientist, he made important contributions to hydraulics and the study of atmospheric pressure and, with Fermat, developed the theory of probability. His chief philosophical works are Lettres provinciales (1656--57), written in defence of Jansenism and against the Jesuits, and Pensées (1670), fragments of a Christian apologia|
pascal pas·cal (pā-skāl', pä-skäl')
A unit of pressure equal to one newton per square meter.
|pascal (pā-skāl', pä-skäl') Pronunciation Key
The SI derived unit used to measure pressure. One pascal is equal to one newton per square meter.
|Pascal, Blaise 1623-1662.
French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher who, with Pierre de Fermat, developed the mathematical theory of probability. He also contributed to the development of differential calculus, and he invented the mechanical calculator and the syringe. The pascal unit of pressure is named after him.
Pascaln. An Algol-descended language designed by Niklaus Wirth on the CDC 6600 around 1967-68 as an instructional tool for elementary programming. This language, designed primarily to keep students from shooting themselves in the foot and thus extremely restrictive from a general-purpose-programming point of view, was later promoted as a general-purpose tool and, in fact, became the ancestor of a large family of languages including Modula-2 and Ada (see also bondage-and-discipline language). The hackish point of view on Pascal was probably best summed up by a devastating (and, in its deadpan way, screamingly funny) 1981 paper by Brian Kernighan (of K&R fame) entitled "Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language", which was turned down by the technical journals but circulated widely via photocopies. It was eventually published in "Comparing and Assessing Programming Languages", edited by Alan Feuer and Narain Gehani (Prentice-Hall, 1984). Part of his discussion is worth repeating here, because its criticisms are still apposite to Pascal itself after ten years of improvement and could also stand as an indictment of many other bondage-and-discipline languages. At the end of a summary of the case against Pascal, Kernighan wrote: