J.K. Rowling, eat your heart out: NIST updates a bestseller
'The Handbook of Mathematical Functions' is updated and digital – yes!
- By William Jackson
- Jun 08, 2010
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is known for producing some gripping prose. Who can forget the riveting “Guide for Assessing the Security Controls in Federal Information Systems and Organizations”? But the agency has rarely produced anything as popular as its "Handbook of Mathematical Functions," a million-seller that ranks as the agency’s most widely cited publication of all time.
After a decade of preparation, NIST has released the updated handbook, accompanied by its companion online version, the "Digital Library of Mathematical Functions."
The handbook made its first appearance in 1964, the year the Beatles came to America. It remains the most widely distributed NIST publication and still receives more than 1,600 citations a year in research literature. DLMF is intended to be the definitive reference work on special functions of applied mathematics. The handbook received seed funding from the National Science Foundation and was compiled and edited at NIST from the contributions of more than 50 subject-area experts.
The DLMF is available at dlmf.nist.gov. Its 967-page printed companion, the NIST "Handbook of Mathematical Functions," is published by Cambridge University Press, available for $99.
William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.