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Handbook of Mathematical Functions With Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables (AMS55)
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Preface to the Ninth Printing
The enthusiastic reception accorded the “Handbook of Mathematical
Functions” is little short of unprecedented in the long history of mathe-
matical tables that began when John Napier published his tables of loga-
rithms in 1614. Only four and one-half years after the first copy came
from the press in 1964, Myron Tribus, the Assistant Secretary of Com-
merce for Science and Technology, presented the 100,OOOth copy of the
Handbook to Lee A. DuBridge, then Science Advisor to the President.
Today, total distribution is approaching the 150,000 mark at a scarcely
The success of the Handbook has not ended our interest in the subject.
On the contrary, we continue our close watch over the growing and chang-
ing world of computation and to discuss with outside experts and among
ourselves the various proposals for possible extension or supplementation
of the formulas, methods and tables that make up the Handbook.
In keeping with previous policy, a number of errors discovered since
the last printing have been corrected. Aside from this, the mathematical
tables and accompanying text are unaltered. However, some noteworthy
changes have been made in Chapter 2: Physical Constants and Conversion
Factors, pp. 6-8. The table on page 7 has been revised to give the values
9f physical constants obtained in a recent reevaluation; and pages 6 and 8
have been modified to reflect changes in definition and nomenclature of
physical units and in the values adopted for the acceleration due to gravity
in the revised Potsdam system.
The record of continuing acceptance of the Handbook, the praise that
has come from all quarters, and the fact that it is one of the most-quoted
scientific publications in recent years are evidence that the hope expressed
by Dr. Astin in his Preface is being amply fulfilled.
LEWIS M. BRANSCOMB, Director
National Bureau of Standards
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