Miscellany | Published:


Nature volume 6, pages 541543 | Download Citation



THE British Association Committee on Mathematical Tables, of which Prof. Cayley is the chairman, has determined to tabulate the Elliptic Functions, or more accurately, the Jacobian Theta Functions, which are the numerators and denominators of the former, and their logarithms. The tables, which are of double entry, will therefore give eight tabular results for each 8,100 arguments; besides certain other quantities, depending only on the modulus, that will be added. Forms have been printed, and the calculation has already been commenced. The Elliptic Integrals (the inverse forms to the Functions) were, as is well known, calculated by Legendre, and published in his “Traite des Functions Elliptiques, 1826.” It is unquestionable that the Elliptic Functions are the most widely used transcendents in analysis that have not yet been tabulated, and it is believed that the tables will be found very generally useful in all the mathematical sciences. The great labour has no doubt alone prevented any previous attempt. The work proposed by the committee will, when completed, be most likely the largest piece of numerical computation, with general application throughout the whole of mathematics, that has been undertaken since the original calculation of the logarithms of numbers and trigonometrical functions of Briggs and Vlacq, 1620–1633.

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