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Submitted By beachpi98

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Words 842

Pages 4

Connie Beach

Professor Clifton E. Collins, Sr.

Math 105: Introduction to College Mathematics

May 22, 2010 Abstract

In this paper we look at the history of algebra and some of its different writers. Algebra originated in ancient Egypt and Babylon around 1650 B.C. Diophantus of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician, and Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, a Persian mathematician from Baghdad, astronomer and geographer, shared the credit of being the founders of algebra. Diophantus, who is known as the “father of algebra”, carried on the work of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, but the word Algebra actually came from the word al-jabr, which is from al-Khwārizmī’s work, Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala. The algebraic notation had gone through 3 stages: rhetorical (or verbal), stage, syncopated (use of abbreviated words) stage, and symbolism (the use of letters for the unknown) stage. As a matter of fact, the algebra that we know of today began during the 16th century, even though its history shows that it began almost 4000 years ago. A Brief Look at the Origin of Algebra I have always had a love for math. My favorite math class was Algebra; in fact, I had taken Algebra I, II, III, and IV all through high school, and aced every class. I can just look at a problem and know the answer. Then, I returned to college after 30 years, and took an Intro to College Math class. I wasn’t sure if I still remembered what I had learned in high school, but it all clicked after just one week. After reading Real World Application #20, The Origins of Equations, in this class, I started thinking, where did all these equations come from, when did it start and where. So in this paper, the origin of algebra and some of its different writers will be looked at. Algebra’s history had originated from ancient Egypt and Babylon. From the Rhind papyrus, which was written around 1650 B.C., is where much of our understanding of ancient Egyptian math is established. They were solving problems such as linear equations; but they did not use symbols, instead their equations were spoken aloud. During that same time, ancient Babylon’s use of math was much greater than Egypt. They were solving quadratic equations, where possibly the quadratic formula was created. They were using some symbols, but like the Egyptians, their problems were solved verbally (Highlights in the History of Algebra).

Diophantus of Alexandria, (who lived around 200 – 298 A.D.), carried on the traditions of Egypt and Babylon. He was a Greek mathematician, who was also the author of Arithmetica, a book that gives many solutions to complicated undefined equations. He is sometimes called “the father of algebra”, because he contributed to the number theory and mathematical notation (Diophantus, 2010). The word algebra actually comes from the word al-jabr which is from the work of Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, (who lived around 780 – 850 A.D.). He was a Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer; who lived in Baghdad, Iraq. He wrote Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala, one of the first Arabic algebras; it demonstrated the analytical solution of linear and quadratic equations. He is credited as being the founder of algebra, one that he shares with Diophantus (Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, 2010).

Although algebra had originated more than 4000 years ago, it wasn’t until the 16th century that symbolism were introduced, where the use of letters were used for the unknown. The algebraic notation had gone through three stages: rhetorical, syncopated, and symbolic stages. The rhetorical stage, used during the ancient Egypt and Babylon times, is where the equations were solved verbally. The syncopated stage, which was introduced during Diophantus’ time, is where the words were abbreviated. And then the symbolic stage is how we know algebra today (Highlights in the History of Algebra).

In conclusion, I find that Algebra has been around for more than 4000 years. It started in ancient Egypt and Babylon, but was carried on by Diophantus, who is known as the “father of algebra”. The word Algebra comes from the word al-jabr, from the works of Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, who is also known as the founder of algebra. But the algebra that we know of today wasn’t developed until around the 16th century. I find it really interesting that the development of algebra was based in the Middle East, which is where civilization had begun; but I’ll save that discussion for the next paper I need to write about. References

Diophantus. (2010, May 9). Retrieved May 22, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diophantus

Highlights in the History of Algebra. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2010, from UL of Lafayette: http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~sxw8045/history.htm

Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī. (2010, May 19). Retrieved May 22, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB

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