" John Napier of Merchiston (1550 – 4 April 1617) – also signed as Neper, Nepair – named Marvellous Merchiston, was a Scottish landowner known as a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. He was the 8th Laird of Merchistoun.
John Napier is best known as the discoverer of logarithms. He also invented the so-called “Napier’s bones” and made common the use of the decimal point in arithmetic and mathematics….” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Napier
" He was ‘the person to whom the title of great man is more justly due than to any other whom this country has produced’. In this simple pronouncement, the Scottish intellectual David Flume summed up his fellow countryman John Napier.
Yet most Scots know little or nothing about the 16th-century mathematician, philosopher and inventor who, from his secluded tower in Scotland, produced the vital tool needed by mankind to explore the globe and fathom the universe. Without Napier’s invention of logarithms and the decimal notation for complex fractions, the discoveries of others such as Galileo, Kepler and Newton would have been hindered by years of long and complex calculations.
For decades Napier wrestled with mathematics in the privacy of his home, while his superstitious neighbours grew convinced he was involved in sorcery and witchcraft. Dressing in a long, black gown to match his thick, black beard, he did nothing to dispel their illusions. He achieved one of the greatest mathematical discoveries of all time while living through one of the most violent and turbulent periods in Scotland’s history with his home town of Edinburgh embroiled in civil war and ravaged by the plague….” http://www.electricscotland.com/HISTORY/other/john_napier.htm
See also, The Works of John Napier. http://www.croninsolutions.com/writing/JohnNapier.pdf