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The Tables of de Prony Are Finally Published Ninety Years After they were Compiled


In 1891 the logarithmic and trigonometric tables of Gaspard Riche de Prony, compiled in 19 volumes of manuscript between 1793 and 1801, mostly by hairdressers unemployed after the French Revolution, were finally published in an abbreviated form in one volume. They were the most monumental work of calculation ever carried out by human computers.

France. Service Geographique de l'Armee. Tables des logarithmes a huit decimales des nombres entiers de 1 a 120000 et des sinus et tangentes de dix secondes en dix secondes d'arc dans le systeme de la division centesimale du quadrant. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1891.

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2001) no. 301.

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