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ERIC Number: EJ1098453
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Computing Logarithms by Hand
Reed, Cameron
Mathematics Teacher, v109 n8 p633-636 Apr 2016
How can old-fashioned tables of logarithms be computed without technology? Today, of course, no practicing mathematician, scientist, or engineer would actually use logarithms to carry out a calculation, let alone worry about deriving them from scratch. But high school students may be curious about the process. This article develops a straightforward technique for computing common logarithms by establishing a few successive square roots of 10. Because the logarithms of these values are by definition just the power to which 10 has been taken (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.), these values can be used to construct a table of logarithms in which the increment in the logarithm is 1/2[superscript N], where N is the number of square roots computed. By interpolating between these accurately computed points, we can build a standard log table. This method should help reinforce rules of logarithms and powers for students.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A