Who Invented Algebra?
Date: 06/07/2004 at 17:40:58 From: Lesia Subject: Algebra Who invented Algebra?
Date: 06/07/2004 at 23:14:31 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Algebra Hi, Lesia. It depends on what you mean by "algebra"! And that's exactly how D. E. Smith starts his chapter on the subject in his "History of Mathematics, volume 2": When we speak of the early history of algebra it is necessary to consider first of all the meaning of the term. If by algebra we mean the science which allows us to solve the equation ax^2+bx+c=0, expressed in these symbols, then the history begins in the 17th century; if we remove the restriction as to these particular signs, and allow for other and less convenient symbols, we might properly begin the history in the 3rd century; if we allow for the solution of the above equation by geometric methods, without algebraic symbols of any kind, we might say that algebra begins with the Alexandrian School or a little earlier; and if we say that we should class as algebra any problem that we should now solve by algebra (even though it was at first solved by mere guessing or by some cumbersome arithmetic process), then the science was known about 1800 B.C., and probably still earlier. He goes on to cover the earliest aspects briefly, mentioning such names as Ahmes, Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Mahavira, Liu Hui, Sun-Tzi, Heron, Diophantus, al-Khowarizmi, and so on. Each of these made a contribution at some level. If you have any further questions, feel free to write back. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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