The History of Logarithm

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Logarithms and Their Inventions

Logarithms get applied in solving multiple problems in mathematics, physics as well as statistics. Logarithms got developed by John Napier, a well-respected mathematician from Scotland at a time around 1500-1617. Later, the logarithm inventions got appreciated by fellow mathematicians and scientists that existed at the time. Currently, logarithms together with their exponents get mostly used for learning purposes (Hobson, pg.54). During the 15th century, significant mathematical and physics discoveries began to set. Following the various inventions, there emerged a need to carry out calculations to prove such discoveries. Long and tedious computations had to be done to arrive at conclusions.

Contributions to the Invention of Logarithms

John Napier saw it necessary to come up with logarithms to simplify the tasks of fellow mathematicians and physicians. Others mathematicians such as Joost Burgi also contributed to the invention of logarithm despite not being widely acknowledged. Even though the noble work got done by John Napier in designing logarithms; his work had to get transformed into a system recognized by the current generation (Hobson, pg.79). Henry Briggs mainly developed the pioneer table of common logarithm applications. Leonhard Euler also contributed to converting Napier’s logarithm into a system we recognize today. Euler who existed during 1707-1783 modified logarithms and linked them to exponentials now commonly used in advanced mathematics problem-solving.

Applications of Logarithms

Logarithms get applied in power laws. The spectrum carrying cosmic rays facilitate the charging of particles at relatively high velocities in a magnetic region. It gets possible to detect sights, sounds, smells, earthquakes, and tsunamis which all follow power laws (Xiao et al, pg.1890). Application of logarithms in power laws seems interesting since we live in a world where quakes, tsunamis, and decays occur frequently. Power law of logarithms follows the thought of entropy in thermodynamics dealing in microstates.

Logarithms also get applied in rocket dynamics. Through logarithms, the velocity of distance covered by multistage rocket gets done by comparing the ratio of rocket mass during the beginning and final stage of operation. The landing of the projectile also makes use of the logarithmic concept (Selig et al., pg.581). The application of logs in skyrocketing tends to be interesting since the whole idea of launching a rocket is scary. Daring human-beings land on the moon and other planets by making use of rockets.

Experience Working on the Project

Learning the history of mathematics particularly the logarithms seemed quite exciting and adventurous. I found the whole invention of logarithms as well as exponentials fascinating given that the imagination got stimulated by discoveries in the ancient world by mathematicians and physicians. As per now, I have a better insight into the application of logarithms in solving statistical and mathematical challenges especially those dealing with long and complicated computations. Also, the project on logarithms has helped a lot in mastering some mathematical formulas commonly applied in higher learning of mathematics (Hobson, pg.104). The Euler’s method of exponentials, for instance, aids a lot on dealing with mathematical tasks that entail logarithm use. Conclusively, through the logarithm, long and tedious computations had to be done to arrive at conclusions. The most exciting section of this project was getting to know that Henry Briggs compiled a full table of logarithms which simplifies mathematical problem-solving. Further, I got thrilled to learn that logarithms get functional in detecting the occurrence of tsunamis and earthquakes around the globe.

Work Cited

Hobson, Ernest William. John Napier and the Invention of Logarithms, 1614: A Lecture by EW Hobson. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Selig, Marco, et al. "The denoised, deconvolved, and decomposed Fermi γ-ray sky-An application of the D3PO algorithm." Astronomy & Astrophysics 581 (2015): A126.

Xiao, Xiao, et al. "On the use of log‐transformation vs. nonlinear regression for analyzing biological power laws." Ecology

92.10 (2011): 1887-1894.

September 25, 2023

History Science

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