John Napier

(1550—1617) mathematician

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Mathematician. Napier invented logarithms, greatly simplifying calculations involving multiplying and dividing. As Kepler put it, he doubled the life of astronomers (by halving the time they took number‐crunching). Educated in France and then at St Andrews, he published his Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio in 1614, with tables and explanations. In 1617, he published Rabdologia, describing ‘Napier's bones’, or rods calibrated logarithmically; as developed into the slide rule.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics — History.

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