Appendix 1. Using an HP calculator


We have not tried to give full instructions here for using Hewlett-Packard calculators, but have set out only those operations necessary for the examples and exercises in this book.

The HP calculators generally used fall into two categories:

The HP12C calculator

It is essential first to understand the logic of this calculator, which is called “reverse Polish notation” (RPN). On a traditional calculator, the steps are entered in the same order as on a piece of paper. Thus, for example, the calculation 4 × 5 + 6 = 26 would be performed by entering 4, ×, 5, +, 6 and = in that order. The result appears as 26.

With an HP12C using RPN however, it is necessary instead to enter 4, ENTER, 5, ×, 6 and +, in that ...

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