Odd Books: Barlow’s Tables of Cubes


Notes:  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn a lot about yourself.  The squares, cubes, square roots, cube roots and reciprocals of every whole number between 1 and 12,500.    Oh the hours, the many long hours Mr Barlow must have spent diligently making sure all those decimal points were in the right places.  I wonder if made up his mind from the outset to go all the way to 12,500, or if it just sort of happened.  I reckon his wife probably nagged him to stop at 10,000,  and he did the last 2,500 just to annoy her.   A good job he did too; Barlow’s work was considered so accurate that it was reprinted numerous times since its authorship in 1801.  It’s probably just as well he never lived to see the invention of the calculator:  “Hey Peter, you know that project you’ve devoted your life’s work to…”.

As books go it’s now about as relevant as a copy of “The Millennium Bug – What Your Company Needs to Know”, so I’m not sure it’ll ever make the journey out of the stockroom onto the shelves.  But by golly, if an electro-magnetic pulse attack destroys all the world’s microchips and the only way to save humanity is to find the cube root of 11,302 – Barlow’s your man.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s