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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 an 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.

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