Benjamin von Munchhausen (b. 1650), a physician from Danzig, visited England in 1672 and was elected fellow of the Royal Society in April 1684 (Andreas Selling, Deutsche Gelehrten-Reisen nach England 1660-1714, 1990, pp.96, 379).
The invention of logarithms was the greatest achievement of the Scottish polymath John Napier of Merchiston: he also patented agricultural improvements, proposed new military technologies including innovations in artillery and armoured warfare, prophesied the final collapse of the Roman Catholic "anti-Christ" within the century, conducted work on alchemy, and contracted to search for hidden treasure in the grounds of a castle belonging to a knight with a reputation for outlawry and conspiracy. The Descriptio showed how the difference between arithmetical and geometrical progression could be used to simplify a vast range of calculations, and his tables (although different from later Napierian logarithmic tables) introduced the decimal place in its modern use, but it did not provide an explanation of how the tables were made. That was the central burden of the Constructio, which had been written earlier but was only published after Napier's death (see lot 451). The importance of Napier's logarithms was soon recognised by Johannes Kepler, who included a eulogistic dedicatory letter to Napier in his Ephemeris (1620), and the English mathematician Henry Briggs, who went on to develop decimal logarithms in the 1620s. The secretive Swiss instrument maker Jost Bürgi developed a form of logarithmic table independently of Napier at roughly the same time and published his own table of progressions in 1620, but his work lacks Napier's theoretical underpinning. A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST ISSUE OF A KEY WORK IN THE HISTORY OF MATHEMATICAL CALCULATION.
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