The invention of logarithms came on the world as a bolt from the blue. No previous work had led up to it, foreshadowed it, or heralded its arrival. It stands isolated, breaking in upon human thought abruptly without borrowing from the work of other intellects or following known lines of mathematical thought.

— Lord Moulton on the 300th anniversary of John Napier’s 1614 book Description of the Wonderful Canon of Logarithms. E.W. Hobson called the invention “one of the very greatest scientific discoveries that the world has seen.”