The History of Mathematical Tables: From Sumer to Spreadsheets

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Martin Campbell-Kelly, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Martin Campbell-Kelly, Mary Croarken, Visiting Fellow Department of Computer Science Mary Croarken, Raymond Flood, Eleanor Robson, Gresham Professor of Geometry Raymond Flood
OUP Oxford, Oct 2, 2003 - Business & Economics - 361 pages
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), data tables (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" or history 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".

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Tables and tabular formatting in Sumer Babylonia and
The making of logarithm tables
History of actuarial tables
de Pronys project for making
from Müller to Comrie
Table making in astronomy
The General Register Office and the tabulation
British table
Table making for the relief of labour
The making of astronomical tables in HM
The rise and rise of the spreadsheet
Biographical notes

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About the author (2003)

Martin Campbell-Kelly is in the Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick. Mary Croarken is a Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick. Raymond Flood is a University Lecturer in Computing Studies and Mathematics, Oxford University Department forContinuing Education; Fellow of Kellog College. Eleanor Robson is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.