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e: The Story of a Number by Eli Maor

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Appendixes

The letter e may now no longer be used to denote anything other than this positive universal constant [the solution of the equation ln x = 1]—EDMUND LANDAU, Differential and Integral Calculus (1934)

 

Appendix 1

Some Additional Remarks on Napier’s Logarithms

In his Mirifici logarithmorum canonis constructio, published posthumously in 1619, Napier explained his invention of logarithms in terms of a geometric-mechanical model, a common approach to solving mathematical problems at the time (we recall that Newton used a similar model in describing his idea of fluxions). Consider a line segment AB and an infinite ray parallel to AB and extending from C to the right (fig. 76).

FIG. 76. Napier used a geometric model to explain his idea ...

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