September 29, 2011
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi was a Muslim mathematician and astronomer that was born around 780 in Baghdad, Iraq and died around 850. Little is known about his life besides is attributes to mathematics; historians aren’t even for sure where he was really born, but doesn’t matter because we know his strengths in math. The Muslim leader known as Caliph during Al-Khwarizmi’s time was al-Munan. Al-Khwarizmi was a religious man and presented two of his works dedicated to al-Munan. “These were his treatise on algebra and his treatise on astronomy.” Al-Khwarizmi studied and was a scholar at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. He was a member of Bana Musa (sons of Moses) along with his colleagues. Their main goal at the House of Wisdom was to translate the Greek manuscripts into Arabic; however they also were there to further their studies in algebra, geometry and astronomy, as well as writing more about these subjects. It is unknown to historians if Al-Khwarizmi was familiar with Euclid’s Elements or not but it is said that al-Hajjaj was one of his colleagues in the House of Wisdom and al-Hajjaj was in charge of translating the Elements into Arabic (O’Connor).
Al-Khwarizmi wrote Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala or al-Kitab al-mukhtasar fi Hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala, which is infamous because it has al-jabr which is derived later to algebra (O’Connor). The whole translation of the title of this work is “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing (Syed).” It is the first work done contributed to algebra. Some people have troubles comprehending what Al-Khwarizmi was saying in his al-jabr book because all the problems had to deal with real life problems; however this is what was important in those days (O’Connor). For instance, “in cases of inheritance, contracts, surveying, tax collection, legacies, partition, lawsuits, and trade, and in all their dealings with one...