Napier, John (1550–1617)
Scottish mathematician and theological writer who invented logarithms
and wrote Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio (1614), which
contains the first logarithmic table and the first use of the word logarithm.
He also introduced the decimal point in writing numbers. His Rabdologiae
(1617) describes various shortcuts for carrying out arithmetical calculations.
One method of multiplication uses a system of numbered rods called Napier's
rods, or Napier's bones – a major improvement on the ancient system
of counters then in use. In 1619, after Napier's death, his Mirifici
logarithmorum canonis constructio, which gave the method of construction
of his logarithms, was published by his son Robert and edited by Henry Briggs.