The History of Logarithms

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Algebra

Document 1

A logarithm is a power to which a base must be raised to yield a given number. Expressed mathematically, x is the logarithm of n to the base b if bx =n in which when written is x= log bn. for example, 33 =27; therefore, 3 is the logarithm of 27 to the base 2 or 3= log 327. Furthermore, logarithms with base 10, for example since 103 =1000 then 3= log 101000 are called common or Briggsian logarithms and are usually expressed as log n. Logarithms were first invented in 1614 by a Scottish mathematician John Napier. Both Briggs and Vlacq engaged in setting up log trigonometric tables to which the tables were either to one-hundredth of a degree or to one minute of arc. In the 18th century, tables were published for a 10-second interval which were convenient for the seven decimal place tables.

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