This known for discovering methods for facilitating computation

This informational paper is about John Napier who invented logarithms. Emerging from the rural countryside of Scotland to become the ‘Father of Logarithms,’ John Napier’s contributions have made him an iconic math figure since the 16th century. After reading this paper, you will learn vital information about his life, what he discovered, how logarithms were applied to math in the past, and why he was interested in logarithms. John Napier was born and raised in a Scottish family. He was born on February 1, 1550 and died on April 4, 1617 at the age of sixty seven. Napier lived on an estate with his parents, Archibald Napier and Janet Bothwell, who raised their son as a devout Protestant. At the age of twenty one, Napier got married to Elizabeth but she tragically died after seven years of marriage leaving two children behind. After that, Napier married Agnes Chisholm and build a family with ten children. From a young age Napier was educated at home by private tutors until the age of thirteen. He was then sent to St. Salvador’s College, St. Andrews, England, for his formal education. In college Napier studied theology which sparked in him the interest of religion and lead him to debate in religious controversies. Before earning a degree in theology at St. Salvador, Napier returned to Scotland where he would later get married to Elizabeth. John Napier is known for discovering methods for facilitating computation which made math easier and developed into logarithms. Napier presented a mechanical way of simplifying calculations and used a system where roots and products could be quickly determined. In 1617 Napier invented the ‘Napier Bones’ that developed easier methods of computing, by operating numbering rods to calculate any number between one and nine. In addition, two books written by John Napier and published after his death, Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio and Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Constructio, described in depth the reasoning behind Napier’s steps of identifying logarithms. In these two books he also introduces the decimal notation of fractions. John Napier’s invention of logarithms assisted the astronomical world in the days when no computers were around. The invention of logarithms simplified the calculations needed to be solved and computed. Before the age of modern technology, many steps were used in order to decode monstrous multiplication problems. Logarithms, however, served as a convenient way for astronomers to take care of astronomical equations. How did John Napier find interest in logarithms? Still to this day experts do not know what motivated Napier’s interest in logarithms. Some believe he gained interest through his uncle but it is unknown. Napier dedicated his free time to puzzles while mathematics was only a hobby. Napier did not receive a yearly income because of his commitment to astronomy and logarithms. During his leisure time, he was involved in a mathematical research team which could possibly have aided his interests. In conclusion, John Napier played a significant role in mathematics because he discovered logarithms. I chose to research about John Napier because I’ve never really understood where logarithms came from. While learning logarithms in our textbook, I often wondered who came up with the complex rules and how does it logically work? After researching on Napier, I now have a basic understanding on where and why logarithms were created.


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