Edinburgh Napier University features twice in Edinburgh’s 101 most treasured objects.
Napier’s Bones and Wilfred Owen’s personal copy of The Old Huntsman by Siegfried Sassoon are two historical objects featured in a new campaign. Edinburgh's 101 Objects brings Edinburgh past to life - it aims to immerse visitors in the rich history of Edinburgh through 101 of its most treasured objects.
Napier's Bones Object 43
John Napier, who was born in 1550 in the medieval Tower House of Merchiston Castle, is best known for his invention of logarithms. His work on logarithms, titled ‘Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio’, was published in 1614 and widely embraced by academics across Europe. Despite the academic acclaim, it was clear to John Napier that a universal system for simplifying logarithms would enable those, without the privilege of an extensive education, to access his innovation.
John Napier published Rabdologiae in 1617 which introduced a series of mathematical innovations, he hoped, would assist in making logarithms accessible to wider audiences within society. One of those innovations was a system of rods, colloquially named ‘Napier’s Bones’, which were widely adopted within science and commerce and proved mathematics could be put to common use. Napier's Bones were credited as the world's first pocket calculator which continued to be used throughout the 20th Century, surpassed only in recent times through digital age innovations.
The Old Huntsman Object 38
At Craiglockhart, visitors can see a first edition copy of The Old Huntsman by Siegfried Sassoon that was owned by fellow war poet Wilfred Owen. The two met at Craiglockhart while being treated for shell shock there during the First World War and this year marks the centenary of that important first meeting.