HISTORY of SCIENCE and RELIGION: Historically, Catholics are numbered among the most important scientists of all time, including Rene Descartes, who discovered analytic geometry and the laws of refraction; Blaise Pascal, inventor of the adding machine, hydraulic press, and the mathematical theory of probabilities; Augustinian priest Gregor Mendel, who founded modern genetics; Louis Pasteur, founder of microbiology and creator of the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax; and cleric Nicolaus Copernicus, who first developed scientifically the view that the earth rotated around the sun; Laura Bassi. Jesuit priests in particular have a long history of scientific achievement. Catholic Education Resource Centre