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Q&A #3962


Algebra

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 21, 2000 at 11:53:50
Subject: Re: Algebra

I'll try to give you an idea. :) Let's start with the word itself:

______________
algebra

'ilm algebra wa'lmugabalah (Arabic)
The science of redintegration and equation = The reunion of broken parts.

redintegration = The process of making whole again OR restoring to a perfect
state.
______________

I like to point this out to my students so that they understand the idea of
factoring. You can see a Web page following this idea here:

http://mathforum.org/alejandre/algfac.html

If you would like to read further about the history of algebra, one of the
interesting biographies is that of Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi
which can be found here:

http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/Mathematicians/Al-Khwarizmi.html

on the The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.

This is a quote from that page:

"The algebra treatise _Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala_ was the most famous and
important of all of al-Khwarizmi's works. It is the title of this text that
gives us the word "algebra" and, in a sense that we shall investigate more
fully below, it is the first book to be written on algebra."

There is a lot of information on that history site that will help you gain an
understanding of the concepts of algebra.

Now, if by chance, I misinterpreted your question and you are more interested
in understanding various problems of algebra, then I would point you to the
Math Forum's Ask Dr. Math archives which are here:

http://mathforum.org/dr.math/tocs/algebra.middle.html

http://mathforum.org/dr.math/tocs/algebra.high.html

I hope that helps.

 -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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