By Ian Tweddle

James Stirling's "Methodus Differentialis" is likely one of the early classics of numerical research. It includes not just the consequences and concepts for which Stirling is mainly remembered, for instance, Stirling numbers and Stirling's asymptotic formulation for factorials, but additionally a wealth of fabric on differences of sequence and restricting approaches. a powerful choice of examples illustrates the efficacy of Stirling's tools by way of numerical calculations, and a few germs of later rules, significantly the Gamma functionality and asymptotic sequence, also are to be came upon.

This quantity provides a brand new translation of Stirling's textual content that includes an intensive sequence of notes during which Stirling's effects and calculations are analysed and old historical past is equipped. Ian Tweddle locations the textual content in its modern context, but in addition relates the fabric to the pursuits of training mathematicians this day. transparent and available, this booklet might be of curiosity to mathematical historians, researchers and numerical analysts.

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**Extra info for James Stirling’s Methodus Differentialis : An Annotated Translation of Stirling’s Text**

**Example text**

5 128z(z + l)(z + 2)(z + 3) + c. will be obtained. This is a series which converges more rapidly the larger z is. , and the sum will be A + ~B + + ~D + iE + &c. If in this for z its first value ~ is substituted, the value of the whole series which has to be summed will be obtained: if for z its second value is substituted, the sum of all the terms less the first will come out; if for z its third value is substituted, the sum of all terms except the first two will come out, and so on. Therefore I substitute for z its fourteenth value 13~, so that z is sufficiently large to make the series converge rapidly; and I have A _I - 54 ' B- 1 29 A ' C -- 3 31 B in which case the sum A + ~B + ' D -- 5 C 33 ' E -- 7 D 35 ' F -- 9 E 37' tC + ~D + &c.

Let both quantities be reduced to powers of the indeterminate, the multiplication having been carried out, and Z4 + 2z 3 - 11z 2 - 12z = az 4 - 6 a} +b Z3 +lla -3b} +c Z2 -6a} +2b z -c +d will be obtained. And by comparing like terms we will obtain a=l, b-6a=2, c-3b+lla=-1l, d-c+2b-6a=-12, from which is obtained a = 1, b = 8, c = 2, d = -20; hence the quantity set forth is Z4 +2z 3 -llz2 -12z = z(z-l)(z - 2)(z -3) +8z(z-1)(z-2) +2z(z-1) -20z. And one may proceed in exactly the same manner in other cases.

But I except the cases in which two or more factors in the denominator are equal to each other; in those cases the series are not summable. 13 --+--+--+ 1 1 + +&c. 19 is to be summed. The terms of this series are assigned by the quantity 1 3z(3z + 3)(3z + 6) , as will be clear on writing ~, 1~, 2~, 3~, etc. successively for z, that is, 1 27z(z + l)(z + 2) , (1 ) . For instance, on writing for z its first value ~ in 54z z + 1 this, 2~ will result for the sum of the whole series. If for z its second value 1 ~ is written, 1~8 will result for the sum of the whole series less the first term.