Muhammed Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, was a mathematical pioneer, and is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the Islamic world, as well as the founder algebra. His book entitled Kitâb al-Mukhtasar fî Hisâb al-Jabr wa'l-Muqâbala, which means “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing,” established algebra as an independent discipline. While his arithmetic work, possibly entitled Kitāb al-Jamʿ wa-l-tafrīq bi-ḥisāb al-Hind (Book of Addition and Subtraction According to the Hindu Calculation), was responsible for introducing the Arabic numerals, based on the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed in India, to the Western world (Mohamed, 2000).
The Life of Al-Khwarizmi
Al-Khwarizmi (c. 780-850) was a Persian mathematician, astrologer, and geographer whose name may indicate that he came from Khwarezm, a region in present day Uzbekistan (Wikipedia, 2010). He worked under Caliph al-Ma’mun at the House of Wisdom in Bagdad during the early part of the ninth century. Caliph al-Ma’mun was said to be a great patron of learning and scientific investigation, who established the House of Wisdom, an elite academy of talented scholars whose main function was to translate classic books of antiquity into Arabic (Burton, 2007). The caliph showed a genuine interest in al Khwarizmi’s work and they shared a friendship; many of al-Khwarizmi’s works such as his astronomical treatise and his Algebra were dedicated to al-Ma’mun (Mohamed, 2000). According to a brief biography found in Ibn al-Nadim’s book Kitāb al-Fihrist, Al-Khwarizmi accomplished most of his work between 813 and 833. During this time he completed innovative works and made contributions in the areas of algebra, trigonometry, geography, astronomy, as well as works on history, sundials, and the Jewish calendar (Wikipedia, 2010).
Al-Khwarizmi’s Contributions to Mathematics
Although al-Khwarizmi was a brilliant scholar who made...