Monday, June 13, 2005

Wonderful Logarithms

Compelety and utterly distraught by the demise of my favorite paintbrush, brought about by my forgetting to clean it, the household projects have ground to a halt. Instead, I have gone into seclusion to read what is possibly the most amusing book ever written about calculus. I'm sure that all the delightful factoids, anecdotes, and clever exercises will make me completely insufferable if I do actually end up teaching calculus this fall.

Most amusing quotation so far:
John Napier was the eighth baron (or laird) of Merchiston. He is said to have regarded his book A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of Saint John (1593) as his most important contribution. This polemical tract contained proofs in Euclidean fashion that the Pope was the Antichrist and that the world was due to end in the year 1786.
Personalities aside, this book has the most amazing diagrams, too. Why were these not shown to me when I was in high school? The illustration of "completing the square" is inspired.