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John Napier John Napier was born in Merchiston Tower in 1550 He was born during one of the most exciting periods of Scottish and European history Napier was known as the Marvellous Merchiston This was a title that many people said that he well deserved He got this title for his genius and imaginative vision encompassed a number of fields At the age of thirteen John went into college at St Salvators College in St Andrews John Napier was a philosopher and a mathematician He is the inventor of Logarithms and the inventor of the decimal point He made one of the single greatest advances in the history of mathematicians It is said without Napiers work on logarithms it is difficult to imagine how Kepler and Newton could have made their great advances in later times His work Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio contained thirty seven pages of explanatory matter and ninety pages of tables which facilitated the futherment of astronomy dynamics and physics Napier published a small way to perform multiplication the Rabdologiae This became known as Napiers Rods or Bones He explained another method of division and multiplication using metal plates This was the earliest attempt to try to use mechanical means of calculation This makes him the grandfather of our calculator today Napiers study of mathematics was only a hobby when he first started Some of his other mathematical contributions were the formulas for mnemonic for formulas used in solving spherical triangles He also found exponential expressions for trigonometric functions and introduced the decimal notation for fractions Unlike the logarithms today Napiers were not really to any base but in our terminology it is not unreasonable to say that they are to base 1e Napier did not think of logarithms in an algebraic way Algebra was not well enough developed yet to make a full approach toward it He thought of it by dynamic analogy Consider two lines AB
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