It’s not the destination, It’s the journey


After sitting quietly and attempting to wrap my head around Pascal’s Equilibrium of Liquids, I felt a general sense of things but was left more confused than before I began reading. I recognize that Pascal was able to come to the number 100 as a measure of equilibrium, “If a vessel of water, closed on all sides, has two openings, one hundred times larger than the other, with a piston carefully fitted to each, a man pressing the small piston will match the strength of a hundred men pressing the piston in the hundredfold great opening, and will overmaster ninety-nine.” (30) That is fine to say, but it is never explained how he arrived at the number. Where there experiments conducted until 100 fit nicely with his theory?
Pascal is explaining many findings and conclusions and arrives at explaining equilibrium in liquids, as one may have guessed by the title. I really would have wanted to see and understand how he arrived at these complicated solutions. He makes a comment “Here is another proof which only geometer will be able to follow…” This seems to imply that his findings are not meant for the general public. Do you think this was an intentional jab at the average person or that Pascal merely believed we don’t have the capacity to understand?
I found the change of the substance to be important because if and only if the water in the bottom freezes, then one ounce of pressure will suffice. However, if the entire tube is frozen then the 100 pound rule comes back into play. Again it would be helpful to not just state facts but explain them. I started to see how by changing forms the entire experiment changed.


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