John Napier was a Scottish mathematician who invented logarithms. He was born in Edinburgh in 1550 and was so clever that he went to university in St Andrews when he was only 13 years old. His family were landlords in Scotland and when his father died he became the Eighth Laird of Merchiston. Since he was a landlord he spent quite a lot of time trying to invent machines to help with farming, like a pump with an hydraulic screw for lifting water out of flooded pits. He also did experiments with manure. He invented machines for use in war as well, such as a burning mirror to set enemy ships on fire and an armoured chariot.|
Apparently John Napier was interested in maths from when he was very young. As a landlord his knowledge of maths must have helped him in measuring lands. However, most of his time was spent developing his theory of logarithms. He spent over twenty years perfecting the theory of logarithms and calculating tables so they could be given with greater accuracy. His famous 'bones' for doing calculations on small sticks of wood were one of the last things he invented, just two years before his death in 1617.