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9780198508410

The History of Mathematical Tables From Sumer to Spreadsheets

by ; ; ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780198508410

  • ISBN10:

    0198508417

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-12-11
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

The oldest known mathematical table was found in the ancient Sumerian city of Shuruppag in southern Iraq. Since then, tables have been an important feature of mathematical activity; table making and printed tabular matter are important precursors to modern computing and information processing.This book contains a series of articles summarising the technical, institutional and intellectual history of mathematical tables from earliest times until the late twentieth century. It covers mathematical tables (the most important computing aid for several hundred years until the 1960s), datatables (eg. Census tables), professional tables (eg. insurance tables), and spreadsheets - the most recent tabular innovation.The book is presented in a scholarly yet accessible way, making appropriate use of text boxes and illustrations. Each chapter has a frontispiece featuring a table along with a small illustration of the source where the table was first displayed. Most chapters have sidebars telling a short "story" orhistory relating to the chapter.The aim of this edited volume is to capture the history of tables through eleven chapters written by subject specialists. The contributors describe the various information processing techniques and artefacts whose unifying concept is "the mathematical table".

Table of Contents

Introduction 1(19)
Tables and tabular formatting in Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria, 2500 BCE--50 CE
19(30)
Eleanor Robson
The making of logarithm tables
49(30)
Graham Jagger
History of actuarial tables
79(26)
Christopher Lewin
Margaret De Valois
The computation factory: de Prony's project for making tables in the 1790s
105(18)
Ivor Grattan-Guinness
Difference engines: from Muller to Comrie
123(22)
Michael R. Williams
The 'unerring certainty of mechanical agency': machines and table making in the nineteenth century
145(32)
Doron Swade
Table making in astronomy
177(32)
Arthur L. Norberg
The General Register Office and the tabulation of data, 1837--1939
209(26)
Edward Higgs
Table making by committee: British table makers 1871--1965
235(30)
Mary Croarken
Table making for the relief of labour
265(30)
David Alan Grier
The making of astronomical tables in HM Nautical Almanac Office
295(28)
George A. Wilkins
The rise and rise of the spreadsheet
323(26)
Martin Campbell-Kelly
Biographical notes 349(4)
Index 353

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