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The logarithmic tables of Edward Sang and his daughters. (English) Zbl 1030.01023
Es geht um die einzelnen Lebensstationen des Edward Sang (1805-1890) aus Kirkcaldy in Schottland, “Teacher of Mathematics and Doctor of Laws in Edinburgh”, sowie um seine Arbeiten, u.a.: “Mathematics unconnected with any application but the bulk concern topics in physics, astronomy, and engineering, ranging through flywheels and turning lathes, vibrating wires, toothed wheels, clock mechanisms, meteorological observations, carpet manufacture, railways, achromatic optical lenses, construction of arches, surveying methods, the form of ships’ hulls, actuarial calculations, and solar eclipses” (S. 52). Trotz solch hoher Verdienste, trotz persönlicher Ehrungen, starb er finanziell verschuldet.
Sang’s logarithmische and trigonometrische Tafeln – er folgte hierbei dem Dezimalprogramm des französischen Bureau du Cadastre unter Gaspard de Prony –, unter Mitarbeit seiner Töchter Flora Chalmers und Jane Nicol zustandegekommen, aber nur zum Teil gedruckt, gingen schließlich 1907 in die Obhut der Royal Society of Edinburgh über; einzelne Institutionen bemühten sich zwar darum, dieses gewaltige Werk herauszugeben, die letzte Initiative erlosch jedoch bei Kriegsausbruch 1914. Nach Meinung des Verf. wurden die Cadastre-Tafeln in Genauigkeit und Ausmaß von Sang überboten. Nicht ermutigend: “…comparisons with other tables were perhaps the only uses ever made of Sang’s manuscripts” (S. 73). Trotzdem: “Sang’s numerical virtuosity becomes clear when he goes on to describe how to find large divisors which produce very rapid convergence” (S. 75): Zerlegung in Primfaktoren, deren Logarithmen schon bekannt waren, wobei über geeignete Verfahren eine geforderte Genauigkeit schnell erreicht wurde. Während Prony’s Projekt wohlwollend öffentlich gefördert worden war, blieb den Sangs der finanzielle Aufwand für diese immense Arbeit, die sie in 27 Jahren während ihrer Freizeit ausgeführt hatten – allein 47 Bände mit bis zu 28-stelligen Logarithmen –, selbst überlassen.
Zwei Fotos und Abbildungen von Titel- und Textseiten lockern den voller Verehrung für Edward Sang, mit Freude am Detail geschriebenen Bericht auf. Ein umfassendes Literaturverzeichnis ist beigegeben.

MSC:
01A55 History of mathematics in the 19th century
65A05 Tables in numerical analysis
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[1] Commissariot of Edinburgh [re Edward Sang.]: (a) “Record of Testamentary Deeds“ SC70/4/250, pp. 590-592; (b) “Record of Inventories” SC70/1/293, pp. 227-234: both recorded 13 March 1891
[2] Internat. Genealogical Index of Old Parish Records. Microfiche. St Andrews & St. Leonards Parish Records for 7 May 1862, Fife
[3] Edward Sang MSS and related papers. The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, Acc. 10780 Nos. 1-89 (89 numbered volumes/folders of tables, correspondence etc., previously held by the Royal Society of Edinburgh). There is an index to these manuscripts and papers. In the text, each reference is given as [S, n] where n is the appropriate number
[4] Edward Sang MSS. Edinburgh University Library, 40 vols. Gen. 310-349
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[68] Sang, E., Notice of a dioptric light erected at kirkcaldy harbour. with a description of the apparatus for cutting the annular Lens to the true optical figure, Edinburgh new philosophical journal (N.S.), 25, 249-254, (1838)
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[70] Sang, E., Life assurance and annuity tables with a copious collection of rules and examples, (1841), Ballantyne & Hughes, for the author Edinburgh, Ibid. as Vol. 1, One life…, with new Vol. 2, Two Lives… Layton, London, 1859
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[74] Sang, E., Five place logarithms arranged by E. sang, 16°, (1859), Edinburgh, n.p
[75] Sang, E., Appearance of the Sun during the eclipse of July 18, 1860, as it will be seen from London [with a sliding diagram], (1860), Single folio sheet London, n.p
[76] ()
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[82] Sang, E., Specimen pages of a table of the logarithms of all numbers up to one million… shortened to nine figures from the original calculations to fifteen places of decimals, 16 pp. pamphlet, (1872), Edinburgh, n.p
[83] Sang, E.; Hancock, W.J., Discussion, Institute of actuaries journal, On the use of M. Thomas de Colmar’s arithmometer in actuarial and other computations, Institute of actuaries journal, Institute of actuaries journal, 16, 265-269, (1872), With: [Major-General] Hannyngton
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[85] Sang, E., Remarks on the great logarithmic and trigonometrical tables computed by the bureau du cadastre under the direction of M. prony. [read 1874], Proceedings of the royal society of Edinburgh, 8, 421-436, (1875) · JFM 07.0726.03
[86] Sang, E., Reply to M. Lefort’s observations (with a postscript by M. lefort), Proceedings of the royal society of Edinburgh, 8, 581-587, (1875) · JFM 07.0726.05
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[90] Sang, E., On the construction of the canon of logarithmic sines, Proceedings of the royal society of Edinburgh, 12, 601-619, (1884) · JFM 17.1160.05
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