With Descartes the use of exponents as now employed for denoting the powers of a quantity becomes systematic; and without some such step by which the homogeneity of successive powers is at once recognized, the binomial theorem could scarcely have been detected.
When algebra had advanced to the point where exponents were introduced, nothing would be more natural than that their utility as a means of performing multiplications and divisions should be remarked; but it is one of the surprises in the history of science that logarithms were invented as an arithmetical improvement years before their connexion with exponents was known.
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 estimating the influence of recent writers on geography it is usual tc assign to Oscar Peschel (1826-1875) the credit of having corrected the preponderance which Ritter gave to the historical element, and of restoring physical geography to its old pre-eminence.2 As a matter of fact, each of the leading modern exponents of theoretical geography - such as Ferdinand von Richthofen, Hermann Wagner, Friedrich Ratzel, William M.
BASILIDES, one of the most conspicuous exponents of Gnosticism, was living at Alexandria probably as early as the first decades of the 2nd century.
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