A Brief Look at the Origin of Algebra
Professor Clifton E. Collins, Sr.
Math 105: Introduction to College Mathematics
May 22, 2010
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, ...view middle of the document...
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,...