## John Napier: |

John Napier (1550–1617) is celebrated today as the man who invented logarithms—an enormous intellectual achievement that would soon lead to the development of their mechanical equivalent in the slide rule: the two would serve humanity as the principal means of calculation until the mid-1970s. Yet, despite Napier’s pioneering efforts, his life and work have not attracted detailed modern scrutiny. Julian Havil explores Napier’s original development of logarithms, the motivations for his approach, and the reasons behind certain adjustments to them. Napier’s inventive mathematical ideas also include formulas for solving spherical triangles, “Napier’s Bones” (a more basic but extremely popular alternative device for calculation), and the use of decimal notation for fractions and binary arithmetic. Havil also considers Napier’s study of the Book of Revelation, which led to his prediction of the Apocalypse in his first book,
" "In this engaging book, we learn more about Napier the mathematician, the religious zealot, the person." "Edinburgh born John Napier, the inventor of logarithms, is in danger of fading into the shadows of the scientific landscape. In the new book "I'm sure after reading this entertaining and enjoyable book, Napier will climb some rungs on your ladder of famous mathematicians." "Havil . . . gives a rich history of Napier’s involvement in the Protestant reformation, his introduction of logarithms, and his legacy." "With this book, the author continues his impressive series of illuminating, accessible monographs on the history of mathematics." "This book fills a clear gap in published work on Napier and is likely to be the standard point of departure for those interested in his life and work for some years to come." "It is clearly a very interesting book."
"Havil is an enthusiastic and engaging writer--he brings to life John Napier’s original work and gives an account of his mathematical ideas. Readers will gain an appreciation for Napier’s brilliance and for an era when scientific computation was still in its infancy. It’s about time someone wrote a book on this subject for a general audience."
- Gamma: Exploring Euler's Constant. [Paperback]
- Impossible? Surprising Solutions to Counterintuitive Conundrums. [Paperback]
- The Irrationals: A Story of the Numbers You Can’t Count On. [Hardcover and Paperback]
- Nonplussed! Mathematical Proof of Implausible Ideas. [Paperback]
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