To Napier seems to be due the first use of the decimal point in arithmetic. Decimal fractions were first introduced by Stevinus in his tract La Disme, published in 1585, but he used cumbrous exponents (numbers enclosed in circles) to distinguish the different denominations, primes, seconds, thirds, &c. Thus, for example, he would have written 123.456 as 123@4050603.
In the Rabdologia Napier gives an "Admonitio pro Decimali Arithmetica," in which he commends the fractions of Stevinus and gives an example of their use, the division of 861094 by 43 2.
At this time also flourished Simon Stevinus (Stevin) of Bruges, who published an arithmetic in 1585 and an algebra shortly afterwards.
The placing of the card at the bottom of the box, fixed, below the needle, was practised by the compassmakers of Nuremberg in the 16th century, and by Stevinus of Bruges about 1600.
SIMON STEVINUS (1548-1620), Dutch mathematician, was born in 1548 at Bruges (where the Place Simon Stevin contains his statue by Eugen Simonis) and died in 1620 at the Hague or in Leiden.
The question whether Stevinus, like most of the rest of the prince's followers, belonged to the Protestant creed hardly admits of a categorical answer.
A Roman Catholic would perhaps not have been so ready as Stevinus to deny the value of all authority.
A Roman Catholic could not well have boasted, as Stevinus in a political pamphlet did, that he had always been in harmony with the executive power.
But against these considerations it might be urged that a Protestant had no occasion to boast of a harmony most natural to him, while his further remark to the effect that a state church is indispensable, and that those who cannot belong to it on conscientious grounds ought to leave the country rather than show any opposition to its rites, seems rather to indicate the crypto-Catholic. The same conclusion is supported by the fact that Stevinus, a year before his death, bequeathed a pious legacy to the church of Westkerke in Flanders out of the revenues of which masses were to be said.
The carriage itself had been lost long before; but we know that about the year 1600 Stevinus, with Prince Maurice of Orange and twenty-six others, made use of it on the seashore between Scheveningen and Petten, that it was propelled solely by the force of the wind, and that it acquired a speed which exceeded that of horses.
Another idea of Stevinus, for which even Hugo Grotius gave him great credit, was his notion of a bygone age of wisdom.
The fellow-countrymen of Stevinus were proud that he wrote in their own dialect, which he thought fitted for a universal language, as no other abounded like Dutch in monosyllabic radical words.
Stevinus was the first to show how to model regular and semiregular polyhedra by delineating their frames in a plane.
Stevinus also distinguished stable from unstable equilibrium.
His plea for the teaching of the science of fortification in universities, and the existence of such lectures in Leiden, have led to the impression that he himself filled this chair; but the belief is erroneous, as Stevinus, though living at Leiden, never had direct relations with its university.
Book-keeping by double entry may have been known to Stevinus as clerk at Antwerp either practically or through the medium of the works of Italian authors like Lucas Paccioli and Girolamo Cardan.
Some five centuries before his time, but nobody before Stevinus established their daily use; and so well aware was he of the importance of his innovation that he declared the universal introduction of decimal coinage, measures and weights to be only a question of time.
Stevinus printed little circles round the exponents of the different powers of one-tenth.
For instance, 237578 w was printed @ 5070 8 3D; and the fact that Stevinus meant those encircled numerals to denote mere exponents is evident from his employing the very same sign for powers of algebraic quantities, e.g.
Stevinus wrote on other scientific subjects - optics, geography, astronomy, &c. - and a number of his writings were translated into, Latin by W.
His experiments and his treatise (written before 1651, published 1663) on the equilibrium of fluids entitle him to rank with Galileo and Stevinus as one of the founders of the science of hydrodynamics.