### Exhibition 'Marvellous Invention: Four Hundred Years of Logarithms' (August - October 2014) - library collections

Napier, John. The Construction of the Wonderful Canon of

Logarithms. 1889. T/NAP.

John Napier introduced the concept of logarithms in Mirifici

Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio in 1614. Their use spread

quickly as a computational aid and they were included on slide

rules used to make calculations. Displayed here is a 19th century

English translation of Napier.

Briggs, Henry. Mathematical Tables. 1706. T/BRI.

Academics often annotated their books, and this book is particularly heavy

with notes, though almost all of them appear as endpapers. The writer

is unknown, but likely wrote them in the 18th century. The final lines are:

How short & easy by Logarithms! How tedious & difficult by common

Arithmetic! The book annotated is an edition of Mathematical Tables by

Henry Briggs, who worked closely with Napier.

Dunn, Samuel. Tables of correct and concise logarithms. 1784. T/DUN.

Better remembered for his work on longitude and navigation, Samuel

Dunn wrote for the 18th century gentleman scholar. Tables of correct and

concise logarithms
contains a generous introduction to the subject of

logarithmetic, or the use of logarithms for calculation. Dunn makes specific

reference to how logs can be used for astronomy, surveying, and finding

latitude.

Babbage, Charles. Tables of the logarithms of the natural

numbers from 1 to 108000. 1844. T/BAB

Babbage is best known for his contribution to computing.

Like many mathematicians of his time, however, logarithms

were key to his work; his tables of logarithms were known for

their accuracy and reprinted until the 20th century. Babbages

Difference Engine was intended in part to create accurate

logarithms; a prototype can be seen in the middle gallery.

Tables of Logarithms. 1857. T/SOC

Logarithms have been crucial to the study of mathematics since their

discovery and were always taught by professors. This copy of the popular

1857 Tables of Logarithms belonged to Augustus de Morgan, who was the

first mathematics professor at London University and edited this edition.

Handbook of the Exhibition of the Napier Relics, 1914. LE/NAP os.

Not only did Museum founder Lewis Evans attend the celebrations

for the 300th anniversary of the logarithm in Edinburgh, but

he also loaned several sets of Napiers bones and slide rules. His

exhibition handbook contains a list of items loaned, neatly ticked

off, presumably to confirm their safe return. Two can be seen in the

low display case on the opposite side of the door.

### Other narratives:

- Inventory no. 34185 - Former Display Label
- Exhibition ' Marvellous Invention: Four Hundred Years of Logarithms' (August - October 2014)
- Exhibition 'Marvellous Invention: Four Hundred Years of Logarithms' (August - October 2014) - circular slide rule