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Algebras

The Arabic Innovations

Common algebra is a theory of manipulating symbols representing constant and unknown numbers and geometrical magnitudes, and especially of expressing polynomial equations and finding roots by an algorithm that produces a formula. Its founders were the Arabs (that is, mathematicians usually writing in Arabic) from the ninth century, the main culture of the world outside the Far East. Some of the inspiration came from interpreting various Greek or Indian authors, including Euclid. The pioneer was Al-Khwarizmi (fl. c. 800–847) with his work Al-jabr wa'l-muqabala, known in English as the Algebra, and over the next five centuries followers elaborated his theory.

The problems often came from elsewhere, such as commerce or geometry; solutions usually involved the roots of Postage stamp bearing the likeness of Al-Khwarizmi. The early-ninth-century Arab librarian and astronomer was a pioneer in the field of mathematics, setting forth theories that were expanded upon for centuries. The term algebra was first derived from his groundbreaking work Al-jabr wa'l-muqabala. KEITH BAUMAN, TNA ASSOCIATES, FRANKLIN, MICHIGAN polynomial equations. Algebra was seen as an extension of arithmetic, working with unknowns in the same way as arithmetic works with knowns. The Arabic manner of expression was verbal: the word shay denoted the unknown, mal its square, ka'b its cube, mal mal for the fourth power, and so on. Arabs also adopted and adapted the Indian place-value system of numerals, including 0 for zero, that is called Hindu-Arabic. They were suspicious of negative numbers, as not being pukka quantities.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Adrenoceptor (adrenoreceptor; adrenergic receptor) to AmbientAlgebras - Not Distant Origins?, The Arabic Innovations, European Developments To The Seventeenth Century, Developments With Equations From Descartes To Abel