Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
(19 Jun 1623 - 19 Aug 1662)
French mathematician and physicist who was a child prodigy. In mathematics, he developed a theory of probabilities. In physics, he invented the hydraulic press and formulated Pascal’s Law for pressure.
“Flies are so mighty”
Illustrated Quote - Medium (500 x 250 px)
“Flies are so mighty that they win battles, paralyse our minds, eat up our bodies.”
— Blaise Pascal
When Blaise Pascal died, at the young at of 39, he left hundreds of his first notes for a largely unfinished text—as in Sainte-Beuve's words, a tower of which the stones have been laid on each other, but not cemented, and the structure unfinished.1 If completed, his book was to have been a a defense of Christianity. The fragments were published eight years later, in 1670, as Pensées (Thoughts). They demonstrate his genius including not only the science for which he is remembered, but they also had the nature of a psychologist and a moralist.
This quote above was translated from its original French:
La puissance des mouches. Elles gagnent des batailles, empêchent notre âme d’agir, mangent notre corps.
Additional science-related Pensées can be read on the quotation page for Blaise Pascal on this site, as listed in the links below.
Text by Webmaster, with subject quote from Pensées
(1670), No. 367, translated by A. J. Krailsheimer (1995), 6. Original French text in Pensées de Pascal: publiées dans leur texte authentique
(1866), Vol. 1, 176, No. 120. (source)
- Science Quotes by Blaise Pascal.
- 19 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Pascal's birth.
Blaise Pascal - context of quote “Flies are so mighty” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
Blaise Pascal - context of quote “Reasons we have ourselves discovered” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
Blaise Pascal - context of quote “Reasons we have ourselves discovered” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
Blaise Pascal - context of quote “Knowledge of morality” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
Blaise Pascal - context of quote “Knowledge of morality” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston
, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan) Albert Einstein
: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein) Richard Feynman
: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)