John Napier

John Napier was a Scottish Mathematician who was born in Merchiston Castle in
Edinburgh in the year 1550. He briefly attended St. Andrew’s University, but for some
unknown reason, left without obtaining a degree, which didn’t seem to have any relevance
to him. He returned home in 1571 as a scholar competent in Greek. He was a ardent
Presbyterian who wrote A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of Saint John, the
first Scottish interpretation of the bible, in 1593 to demonstrate that the Catholic Church
was the beast. He was interested in mathematics at an early age and set forth the concept
of logarithms and published the first table of them. While doing this, he also systematized
trigonometry and was important in the acceptance of systematic use of decimal notation.
He also invented many mechanical devices used for math, such as “Napier’s Bones”, which
were devices used to aid multiplication. His father, Sir Archibald Napier, was a wealthy
Gentry and government official who left his estate to his son. John Napier then lived out
his life until 1617, when he died at the age of sixty-seven.


Category: Biographies

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