Logger Rhythm

May 31, 2013

What is "log"? The "log" represents something called a logarithm. A logarithm is a mathematical function that shows up in some forms of spectroscopy and many other aspects of science. Understanding what it is can give us a better appreciation for its function in our fields.

Oh, gee, another column on a math topic? Weren't the seven installments on Maxwell's equations, full of vector calculus, enough? Well, there are math topics other than calculus that impact spectroscopy; this installment discusses one of them. But there is a calculus connection . . .




Beer's law (more formally known as Bougier-Lambert-Beer's law, for those who remember an installment from long ago [1]) is a simple mathematical relationship used in spectroscopy. Its mathematical form is

where A is the absorbance of the sample, I 0 is the initial intensity of light at a certain wavelength, and I is the intensity of the same light after it has passed through a sample.

What is "log"? Log represents something called a logarithm, which is a special sort of mathematical function that shows up in some forms of spectroscopy and many other aspects of science. Understanding what it is can give us a better appreciation for its function in our fields.