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“The Father of Algebra” - Al-Khwarizmi


Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi is the famous Muslim scientist of the IX century, astronomer, mathematician, and geographer. His contribution to medieval science is enormous. Thanks to him, Europe have learned what decimal counts and numbers are, and the terms algebra and algorithm are derived from his name and the title of his scientific book.

Unfortunately, there is little detailed information about the life of al-Khwarizmi. It is known that the talented scientist was born in Khiva in about 783. The scientist spent his mature years in Baghdad under the leadership of the local caliph and patron of sciences Al-Abbas ibn al-Ma’mun. There, al-Khwarizmi headed the Baghdad library “House of Wisdom”. The numerous scientific works of the scientist in algebra and astronomy were written in this library.

The work of al-Khwarizmi on the algebra “Kitab al-jabr wa-l-mukabala” gained such popularity in the medieval West that for several centuries it served as a classic manual of mathematics for students of European universities.

Thanks to mathematical calculations, he carried out thorough calculations of the position of the Sun, Moon and planets during solar eclipses. In 827, in the desert, al-Khwarizmi participated in measuring the degree of arc of the earth’s meridian.

For 700 years, the mathematical results obtained by al-Khwarizmi had remained unsurpassed in accuracy. The reliable model of the Earth created by him lasted just as long. This model has become the prototype of the modern globe.

For such a significant contribution to mathematical science and its popularization, the world scientific community rightly nicknamed al-Khwarizmi as “the Father of Algebra”. The famous American historian of science of the 20th century George Sarton of the most talented mathematician said: “al-Khwarizmi is the greatest mathematician of the time, and, if one takes all circumstances into account, one of the greatest of all times”.



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