Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī


Al-Khwārizmī was born sometime around 780, and died around 850. He is most famous for his contributions to Algebra and Trigonometry.
Although not as well known as his more modern colleagues, he is considered one of the fathers of algebra.


It is not known for sure exactly where he was born, but he spent most of his working life as a scholar at an academy located in Baghdad. Little else is known about his personal life— his work however withstood the test of time and went on to influence many other mathematicians.

Contributions to Mathematics

Al-Khwārizmī is most famous for "Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala", his journal on algebra. The title translates into Latin as "Algebra et Almucabala", which then became the name of the discipline of mathematics contained in the book— algebra. The book introduces natural numbers, and goes on to show how to solve equations by breaking them down into one of six standard forms. Examples include:

ax2=c (squares equal number)

bx=c (roots equal number)

Although Al-Khwārizmī did not use symbols, he went to great length explaining how to solve these equations. In Al-Khwārizmī's own words, the journal was to teach "what is easiest and most useful in arithmetic, such as men constantly require in cases of inheritance, legacies, partition, lawsuits, and trade, and in all their dealings with one another, or where the measuring of lands, the digging of canals, geometrical computations, and other objects of various sorts and kinds are concerned."

Although seemingly basic in nature, Al-Khwārizmī's algebra was the first step in many towards modern mathematics.


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