Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Jeffreys, Jeffreys, and Logarithms

My host (Marc Feldman) was trained originally as a mathematician, and there are a bunch of mathematics books --- he apparently doesn't use these anymore --- are in the office I am occupying.

There are a couple in there that I have interest in browsing through. For example, I was just looking a bit through the mathematical physics book by the infamous Jeffreys and Jeffreys (3rd ed, 1953). I like the following footnote in the chapter on asymptotics:

"Actually, of course, we should work out 100 log_{10} e and then evaluate by means of a table of logarithms to the base 10. When a multiplying machine is available two uses remain for logarithms to base 10; to work out high powers and logarithms to base e of large numbers."

Anyway, I enjoy the need to explain in 1953 (or earlier, if this comment predates the 3rd edition) that there are still some uses for log base 10.

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