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Thursday, March 7 • 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Exploring EXPONENTS & LOGARITHMS with Deep Understanding and Deep Joy. POPULAR!

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Scottish mathematician John Napier (1550-1617) conducted an astounding service to mankind: he freed the science of the Renaissance from the shackles of long multiplication! Believe it or not, scholars of the 1500s were seriously stymied by pencil and paper calculations, in particular, long multiplication and long division computations. And it was not until the invention of Napier's "logarithms" that significant progress in science could be made. Unfortunately, it wasn't until another 100 years had passed that scholars realised that Napier's logarithms were really just the the simpler concept of exponents in disguise. But by then the name "logarithm" had stuck and the manner in which we teach them is often still opaque and mysterious to students. Also, the original motivation for logarithms is now moot - we can do very complex multiplication and division computations with ease on computers. So why are we still teaching logarithms today?

avatar for James Tanton

James Tanton

Mathematician in Residence, Mathematical Association of America
James Tanton (PhD, Princeton 1994, mathematics) is an author, a consultant, and an ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C., currently serving as their Mathematician-at-Large. He has taught mathematics both at university and high-school institutions... Read More →

Thursday March 7, 2019 12:30pm - 1:45pm
GP Comp 74/75 11202 104 St, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 2Z1, Canada

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