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Instruction for Using a Slide Rule   By:

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Instruction for Using a Slide Rule by W. Stanley is an intriguing and informative guide that takes readers on an intellectual journey back in time to the era when slide rules were indispensable tools for scientific and mathematical calculation. Written with precision and clarity, this book serves as an excellent resource for those interested in understanding the mechanics of this historical instrument.

One of the book's strengths is its meticulous attention to detail. W. Stanley takes great care in explaining the various components of a slide rule, ensuring readers can grasp how each part contributes to the instrument's functionality. Furthermore, the author's systematic approach to explaining step-by-step procedures for performing calculations ensures that readers have a solid grasp of the subject matter.

The book's tone is both engaging and accessible, making it suitable for readers of all levels of expertise. Whether one is a seasoned mathematician or a curious novice, the author's explanations are clear and intelligible. Additionally, Stanley's use of diagrams and illustrations enhances the learning experience, as it allows readers to visualize the principles being described.

Furthermore, Instruction for Using a Slide Rule provides historical context that helps readers understand the slide rule's significance in the scientific community. Stanley delves into the evolution of the slide rule, shedding light on its practical applications and role in facilitating scientific breakthroughs. This historical perspective adds depth to the book, making it more than just a user manual but also an insightful exploration of an important mathematical tool.

However, one slight drawback is that the book assumes some prior knowledge of basic mathematical concepts. While the author does a commendable job in presenting the material in a straightforward manner, those with limited mathematical background may find certain sections challenging to grasp fully. A brief introduction or appendix summarizing the fundamental principles may have been beneficial for such readers.

In conclusion, Instruction for Using a Slide Rule by W. Stanley is a well-crafted and instructive guide that brings the intriguing world of slide rules to life. Its attention to detail, clarity of instructions, and historical context make it an invaluable resource for those interested in understanding the mechanics and significance of this historical mathematical instrument. Whether you are a mathematician or simply curious about the history of scientific tools, this book will undoubtedly enrich your understanding of an important chapter in scientific discovery.

First Page:

[Transcriber's Notes]

Conventional mathematical notation requires specialized fonts and typesetting conventions. I have adopted modern computer programming notation using only ASCII characters. The square root of 9 is thus rendered as square root(9) and the square of 9 is square(9). 10 divided by 5 is (10/5) and 10 multiplied by 5 is (10 5 ).

The DOC file and TXT files otherwise closely approximate the original text. There are two versions of the HTML files, one closely approximating the original, and a second with images of the slide rule settings for each example.

By the time I finished engineering school in 1963, the slide rule was a well worn tool of my trade. I did not use an electronic calculator for another ten years. Consider that my predecessors had little else to use think Boulder Dam (with all its electrical, mechanical and construction calculations).

Rather than dealing with elaborate rules for positioning the decimal point, I was taught to first "scale" the factors and deal with the decimal position separately. For example:

1230 .000093 = 1.23E3 9.3E 5 1.23E3 means multiply 1.23 by 10 to the power 3. 9.3E 5 means multiply 9.3 by 0.1 to the power 5 or 10 to the power 5. The computation is thus 1.23 9.3 1E3 1E 5 The exponents are simply added. 1.23 9... Continue reading book >>

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