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(pas -kăl) Symbol: Pa. The SI unit of pressure, equal to a pressure of one newton per square meter.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a unit of pressure and mechanical stress in the International System of Units. The unit was named in honor of the French scientist B. Pascal and is the pressure exerted by a force of 1 newton (N) uniformly distributed over an area of 1 m2. The international symbol is Pa. 1 Pa = 1 N/m2 = 10 dynes/cm2= 0.102 kilogram-force/m2 = 10-5 bar = 7.50 X 10-3 mm Hg = 0.102 mm water.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A unit of pressure equal to the pressure resulting from a force of 1 newton acting uniformly over an area of 1 square meter. Symbolized Pa.


(computer science)
A procedure-oriented programming language whose highly structured design facilitates the rapid location and correction of coding errors.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pascal (Pa)

The Standard International unit of pressure; 1 pascal is equal to 1 newton per square meter.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Pascal (Pa)

The unit of measurement for pressure, named after the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). It is the pressure exerted by a force of one newton per square centimeter. In meteorology, the term hectopascal (hPa) (100 Pascals) may be used. One hectopascal = one millibar. The average air pressure is 1013.25 hPa or 101,325 Pa. In aviation, the most common usage is for the altimeter setting. Altimeter settings used to be given in millibars but now are given in hectopascals; however, the number is the same.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


the derived SI unit of pressure; the pressure exerted on an area of 1 square metre by a force of 1 newton; equivalent to 10 dynes per square centimetre or 1.45 × 10--4 pound per square inch.


Blaise . 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


a high-level computer programming language developed as a teaching language: used for general-purpose programming
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(After the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)) A programming language designed by Niklaus Wirth around 1970. Pascal was designed for simplicity and for teaching programming, in reaction to the complexity of ALGOL 68. It emphasises structured programming constructs, data structures and strong typing. Innovations included enumeration types, subranges, sets, variant records, and the case statement. Pascal has been extremely influential in programming language design and has a great number of variants and descendants.

ANSI/IEEE770X3.97-1993 is very similar to ISO Pascal but does not include conformant arrays.

ISO 7185-1983(E). Level 0 and Level 1. Changes from Jensen & Wirth's Pascal include name equivalence; names must be bound before they are used; loop index must be local to the procedure; formal procedure parameters must include their arguments; conformant array schemas.

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 Favourite 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:

9. There is no escape

This last point is perhaps the most important. The language is inadequate but circumscribed, because there is no way to escape its limitations. There are no casts to disable the type-checking when necessary. There is no way to replace the defective run-time environment with a sensible one, unless one controls the compiler that defines the "standard procedures". The language is closed.

People who use Pascal for serious programming fall into a fatal trap. Because the language is impotent, it must be extended. But each group extends Pascal in its own direction, to make it look like whatever language they really want. Extensions for separate compilation, Fortran-like COMMON, string data types, internal static variables, initialisation, octal numbers, bit operators, etc., all add to the utility of the language for one group but destroy its portability to others.

I feel that it is a mistake to use Pascal for anything much beyond its original target. In its pure form, Pascal is a toy language, suitable for teaching but not for real programming.

Pascal has since been almost entirely displaced (by C) from the niches it had acquired in serious applications and systems programming, but retains some popularity as a hobbyist language in the MS-DOS and Macintosh worlds.

See also Kamin's interpreters, p2c.

["The Programming Language Pascal", N. Wirth, Acta Informatica 1:35-63, 1971].

["PASCAL User Manual and Report", K. Jensen & N. Wirth, Springer 1975] made significant revisions to the language.

[BS 6192, "Specification for Computer Programming Language Pascal", British Standards Institute 1982].
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


A high-level programming language developed by Swiss professor Niklaus Wirth in the early 1970s and named after the French mathematician, Blaise Pascal. It is noted for its structured programming, which caused it to achieve popularity initially in academic circles. Pascal has had strong influence on subsequent languages, such as Ada, dBASE and PAL. See Turbo Pascal.

Pascal is available in both interpreter and compiler form and has unique ways of defining variables. For example, a set of values can be stated for a variable, and if any other value is stored in it, the program generates an error at runtime. A Pascal set is an array-like structure that can hold a varying number of predefined values. Sets can be matched and manipulated providing powerful non-numeric programming capabilities.

The following Turbo Pascal example converts Fahrenheit to Celsius:

   program convert;
   fahr, cent : real;
    write('Enter Fahrenheit ');
    cent := (fahr - 32) * 5 / 9;
    writeln('Celsius is ',cent)
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