Book of Vega's mathematical tables, 1794.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Georg Freiherr von Vega (d 1802) was a famous Austrian military profesor of mathematics. This edition is one of the selection of tables collected by the British mathematician and computing pioneer Charles Babbage (1791-1871). His private collection preserved at the Royal Observatory at Edinburgh contained over three hundred volumes. He was a fastidious analyst of tabular error. Mathematical tables were an aid to those profesions which required the performing of calculations demanding more than a few figures of accuracy.