Saturday, January 12, 2013

Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (780-850)

Al-Khwarizmi was a Persian mathematician who spent most of his life in Baghdad. He lived during the reign of Caliph al-Ma’mum of the Abbasid caliphate.

Al-Khwarizmi is considered the ‘father of algebra’. In 825 AD, Al-Khwarizmi wrote his first book in Arabic to explain the Hindu system. It was titled Al-Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Calculating. The book introduced the use of the Hindu numerals 1-9, the number zero and the place value system still in use today. 

Around 830 AD he wrote another important book on algebra, Kitab al-mukhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wa’l-muqabaa (The Compendious Book in Calculation by Completion and Balancing) became the starting point of algebra in the Islamic world and it also gave its title to serve the western name for the subject.

It was the first book on the systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations and is sometimes referred to by the shortened title Algebra. The book regarded as the foundation and cornerstone of mathematics.

Al-Khwarizmi emphasized that he wrote his algebra book to serve the practical needs of the people concerning matters of inheritance, legacies, partition, lawsuits and commerce.

In the 12th century, the book was translated into Latin by Gerhard of Cremona and Robert of Chester where it was used by the Western scholars as the principal mathematical textbook at European universities until the 16th century. 

Al-Khwarizmi worked most of his life in the Baghdad House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma), a library, translation institute and place of learning that was a major intellectual center of the Islamic Golden Age.
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (780-850)
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