Abu Ja'far al-Khwarizmi
Abu Ja'far al-Khwarizmi was an Arab mathematician who lived between
780-850. At a time when the diffusion of ideas was very slow due to the lack of
cross-cultural communication, al-Khwarizmi wrote a book, Hisab al-jabr
wal-muqabala, which contained many important mathematical concepts and formulae
of the Middle East. One of these concepts was completing the square. The "al-jabr" in the title gave us the word "algebra."
This book revolutionized western (European) mathematics: It introduced the decimal system, rules for solving linear and quadratic equations, and doing geometry.
Al-Khwarizmi's impact on today's mathematics is evidenced by our use of the word "algorithm", which is the Latin translation of his name.
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