John Napier


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Born 1550 in Edinburgh, Scotland, died 1617 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Napier studied at St. Andrew's University, which he entered at the age of 13. It seems that Napier never finished his degree studies at St. Andrew's, but went to Europe where he studied (again, it seems) at the University of Paris, in Italy and in the Netherlands.

Napier was a wealthy landowner - his work on mathematics was his favourite pastime. He however, managed to invent Napier's bones and devise a formulae for easy remembering to do with spherical triangles known as 'Napier's analogies'. He also found exponential expressions for trigonometric functions, introduced the decimal notation for fractions, and invented the logarithms!


Want to learn more about what logarithms are? Click here.

Or find out how they were invented here.

Click on the image above to see the copy of the original fronticepiece of Napier's work on Logarithms, or the work of his successor here.

Learn more about other famous mathematicians by clicking here.

Some other interesting mathematical concepts and their invention are described here.



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