3M The Birth Of The Computer No 1 - 1617

This 3M The Birth Of The Computer No 1 - 1617 4 page large format document was produced by 3M 101970. The focus is on John Napier, a Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer & astrologer. He is most renowned as the discoverer of the logarithm, although the actual founder of logarithms was Michael Stifel  who invented an early form of logarithm tables independently of and decades before John Napier.

Napier is the inventor of the so-called "Napier's bones". Napier also made common the use of the decimal point in arithmetic and mathematics. Napier's birthplace, the Merchiston Tower in Edinburgh, Scotland, is now part of the facilities of Edinburgh Napier University. After his death from the effects of gout, Napier's remains were buried in St Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh.

In 1617 Napier published Rabdologia. In it he explained how to use 'Napier's rods' which could be used to multiply numbers together where the calculator only needed to use addition. John Napier's rods (1617) (Napier Rechenstäbchen), also known as Napier's bones, are one of his most important contributions to the world of mathematics and alongside  William Oughtred's invention of the Slide Rule (1615), represents one of the most revolutionary developments in calculation devices since the  abacus.  The rods were basically multiplication tables inscribed on sticks of wood or bone.  In addition to multiplication, the rods were also used in taking square roots and cube roots.

Blaise Pascal and the Arithmometer are also featured

The were kindly donated  in the memory of the late Roy Pemberton who had previously owned them

Date : January 1971

Creator : 3M

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH11665. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

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