matematicas visuales visual math

"The Logarithmotechnia of Nicolas Mercator (1620-1687)was published in 1668. The first two parts of this book were devoted entirely to the calculation of a table of common logarithms.(...)

It is the very different third part of the Logarithmotechnia that is now of principal interest. Here Mercator finds his famous series (apparently used previously by Newton)

Mercator's series Logarithm Function | matematicasVisuales

for the area under the hyperbola

Hyperbola

over the interval from 0 to x."(Edwards, pag. 162)

It was known in the 1660s, as a consequence of the work of Gregory St. Vincent and de Sarasa, that there is a relation between the area under the hyperbola and the logarithm.

Mercator's series for the Logarithm aproximates the function only between 0 and 2. More than that, its rate of convergence is very slow and it is not practical to use this serie to calculate logarithms.

Mercator's series Logarithm Function | matematicasVisuales

Euler replaced x with -x in Mercator's series and then subtract logarithms to obtain

Euler's series Logarithm Function

Euler used a rational function

A rational function Euler uses to approximate the Logarithm Function | matematicasVisuales
A rational function  Euler uses to approximate the Logarithm Function | matematicasVisuales

His series converges everywhere.

We can see in the mathlet how fast this series converges.

Euler's series Logarithm function | matematicasVisuales

REFERENCES

C. H. Edwards - The Historical Development of the Calculus - Springer-Verlag

MORE LINKS

Exponentials and Logarithms (1): Exponential Functions
We can study several properties of exponential functions, their derivatives and an introduction to the number e.
Exponentials and Logarithms (2): Logarithm definition as an integral
Using the integral of the equilateral hyperbola we can define a new function that is the natural logarithm function.
Exponentials and Logarithms (3): One property of the integral of the rectangular hyperbola
The natural logaritm can be defined using the integral of the rectangular hiperbola. In this page we are going to see an important property of this integral. Using this property you can justify that the logarithm of a product is the sum of the logarithms.
Exponentials and Logarithms (4): the logarithm of a product
The main property of a logarithm function is that the logarithm of a product is the sum of the logarithms of the individual factors.
Exponentials and Logarithms (6): Two definitions of number e
Constant e is the number whose natural logarithm is 1. It can be defined as a limit of a sequence related with the compound interest. Both definitions for e are equivalent.
Exponentials and Logarithms (7): The exponential as the inverse of the logarithm
After the definition of the natural logarithm function as an integral you can define the exponential function as the inverse function of the logarithm.
Exponentials and Logarithms (8): Hyperbolas, logarithms and exponencials
Different hyperbolas allow us to define different logarithms functions and their inversas, exponentials functions.
Taylor polynomials (1): Exponential function
By increasing the degree, Taylor polynomial approximates the exponential function more and more.
The Complex Exponential Function
The Complex Exponential Function extends the Real Exponential Function to the complex plane.
Taylor polynomials: Complex Exponential Function
The complex exponential function is periodic. His power series converges everywhere in the complex plane.
Kepler: The best proportions for a wine barrel
Studying the volume of a barrel, Kepler solved a problem about maxima in 1615.