# John Napier

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Related to John Napier: Herman Hollerith, Wilhelm Schickard

## Napier, John

(nā`pēr, nəpēr`), 1550–1617, Scottish mathematician and theologian. He invented logarithmslogarithm
[Gr.,=relation number], number associated with a positive number, being the power to which a third number, called the base, must be raised in order to obtain the given positive number.
and wrote Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio (1614), containing the first logarithmic table and the first use of the word logarithm. His Rabdologiae (1617) gives various methods for abbreviating arithmetical calculations. One method of multiplication uses a system of numbered rods called Napier's rods, or Napier's bones; this was a major improvement on the ancient system of counters then in use. In 1619, after Napier's death, his Mirifici logarithmorum canonis constructio, which gave the method of construction of his logarithms, was published by his son Robert and edited by Henry BriggsBriggs, Henry,
1561–1630, English mathematician. He was the first professor of geometry at Gresham College, London (1596–1619), and Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford (from 1619).
. Napier introduced the decimal point in writing numbers. Napier was also an outspoken exponent of the Protestant cause. His religious writings include A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation (1593), the earliest Scottish interpretation of the scriptures.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

## Napier, John

Born 1550 in Merchiston, near Edinburgh; died there Apr. 4, 1617. Scottish mathematician; inventor of logarithms.

Napier studied at the University of Edinburgh. He had mastered the fundamental concepts of logarithms before 1594; however, his Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio . .. (Description of the Marvelous Canon of Logarithms), in which he set forth this knowledge, was published in 1614. This work contained a definition of logarithms; an explanation of their properties; tables of the logarithms of sines, cosines, and tangents; and applications of logarithms to spherical trigonometry. In Mirifici logarithmorum canonis constructio . .. (Construction of the Marvelous Canon of Logarithms), published 1619, Napier set forth the principles for calculating the tables. The kinematic definition of a logarithm given by Napier is essentially equivalent to the definition of a logarithmic function in terms of a differential equation. Napier also discovered a number of formulas for solving spherical triangles that can be conveniently given in logarithmic form.

### WORKS

Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio; ejusque usus, in utraque, trigonometria, ut etiam in omni logística mathematica . . . explicatio. Edinburgh, 1614.

### REFERENCE

Istoriia matematiki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1970.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1619, John Napier wrote Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Constructio, in which he explained his idea of using geometry to improve arithmetical computations.
Our destination was the Royal automobile Club in Pall Mall, home to the original RAR C Tourist Trophy which was first awarded in 1905 to John Napier driving an arrol-Johnston.
SETS AND COSTUMES, John Napier; lighting, Howard Eaton; ORIGINAL LIGHTING design.
John Napier''''s touring rubbish dump set works well when adapted to the Empire stage and Howard Eaton''''s lighting is varied and innovative in illuminating the midnight hour.
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Fishing with him was John Napier who also had codling to 7lb using runnydown, rag and mussel.
The team will arrive in Liverpool on Tuesday, October 11, and begin putting up the set for Don Giovanni - created by Les Miserables designer John Napier.
The musical's co-director and adapter John Caird, designer John Napier, lighting designer David Hersey and choreographer Kate Flatt have been brought together by Welsh National Opera for a new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.
The system of logarithms was developed by Scotsman John Napier (1550-1617).
Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, Town's divisional rivals Bradford City and Halifax, who were bottom, were both looking for new managers after parting company with John Napier and former Leeds Roader Jimmy Lawson respectively.
Jazz musician Ben Drummond and acoustic guitarist John Napier will be performing at the venue as part of the Oxjam events.
Boss John Napier said the higher bills were paying for better reservoirs and pipes.

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