John Napier Biography
(Inventor of Logarithms)
Birthday: February 1, 1550 (Aquarius)
Born In: Merchiston Tower, Edinburgh
John Napier was a Scottish mathematician and physicist best known as the inventor of logarithms. He is also credited to have made the use of the decimal point in arithmetic and mathematics common. In addition to mathematics, he also had deep interests in astronomy and religion. A staunch Protestant, he was outspoken and uncompromising in his dealings with the Church of Rome due to which he often found himself in the middle of bitter religious dissensions. Not much is known about his early life except for the fact that he was the son of a Scottish landowner and official and received a privileged upbringing. As a member of the nobility, he was tutored privately at home for a few years before being sent to St Salvator's College, St Andrews. It was here that he first became deeply interested in theology though he did not acquire in-depth knowledge in mathematics until later. For reasons unknown, he left the college before earning his degree and it is believed that he moved to some other educational institute for his higher studies. Eventually he began managing his estates and pursued mathematics as a hobby. Among his several contributions to the field, his invention of logarithms is regarded as his greatest.