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Mathematical Treasure: Vega’s Mathematical Tables

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Georg Vega (1754–1802), mathematician and military officer, was particularly noted for his work in developing accurate and economical mathematical tables. Common logarithms were calculated for the natural numbers 1 to 100,000 to seven place accuracy; the necessary calculations were performed by soldiers under Vega’s command. This work, eventually consisting of twenty-four tables, was published in 1783 under the title Logarithmische, trigonometrische, und andere zum Gebrauche der Mathematik eingerichtete Tafeln und Formeln. It became one of the most important mathematical references of its period. A sample page from of these Tables is shown below.

Table from a book by Georg Vega.

The image above was obtained through the courtesy of the University of California Libraries. A complete digital copy of this item can be viewed on the Libraries’ Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Vega’s Mathematical Tables," Convergence (August 2016)