The biography of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, also known as Al-Khwarizmi, was a prominent Muslim mathematician, astronomer, and geographer who lived during the 9th century in Khwarizm, located in modern-day Uzbekistan.
Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was one of the most significant mathematicians of his time, and his works played a significant role in developing mathematics and science in the Islamic Golden Age.
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Early Life and Education of Muhammad Musa al-Khwarizmi
Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was born in Khwarizm, a city in the eastern part of the Iranian plateau, around 780 AD.
Al-Khwrizm lived in Baghdad and worked in the “House of Wisdom” (Dr al-ikma) during al-Maʾmūn caliphate.
The House of Wisdom collected and translated scientific and philosophical treatises, notably those written in Greek, as well as publishing original research.
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works and Acheivement
Al-Khwarizmi became the head of the House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikmah) in Baghdad, a center for learning and research established by the Abbasid Caliphs.
He translated scientific and philosophical works from Greek, Persian, and Sanskrit into Arabic, which significantly transmitted knowledge from the ancient world to the Islamic world.
Al-Khwarizmi’s most significant contribution to mathematics was the development of algebra, a branch of mathematics that deals with equations and their solutions.
He wrote a book called Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabala (The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing), considered the first book on algebra.
This book introduced the concept of variables and using symbols to represent unknown quantities.
It is also introduction of the methods of solving linear and quadratic equations, which are still viable today.
Al-Khwarizmi also made significant contributions to the field of trigonometry.
He wrote a book called Kitab al-Jam’a wal-tafriq bi-ahkam al-sina’atayn al-rattan wa-al-mutabassit (The Book of Addition and Subtraction Concerning the Two Sciences of Arithmetic and Geometry.
The aforementioned book contains tables of trigonometric functions that are useful for calculating the positions of celestial bodies.
Another significant contribution of Al-Khwarizmi was developing the decimal system, the numerical system used today.
He wrote Kitab al-Jam’a wal-tafriq bi-ahkam al-hisab al-Hindi (The Book of Addition and Subtraction Concerning the Hindu Art of Reckoning). From which came the use of decimal fractions and the positional notation system, which is based on the number ten.
This system made arithmetic calculations much more efficient and accurate.
Legacy and Impact of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi
Al-Khwārizmī’s life work crossed from mathematics, geography and astronomy.
His treatise on elementary algebra, ”Al-Kitb al-mukhtaar fisb al-jabr wal-muqbala” has translation in Latin, from which the term algebra derives.
In the 12th century, al-Khwrizm published a second treatise that brought Hindu-Arabic numerals and mathematics to the West.
The term algorithm is from the author’s name, which transcription in Latin as Algoritmi.
His Kitbratal-ar (“The Image of the Earth”; translated as Geography) another important work where he reports the coordinates of locations throughout the known world. He developed a method for determining the direction of Mecca, for Muslims traveling from distant lands.
In addition, al-Khwrizm created a set of astronomical tables (Zīj) based on Hindu and Greek sources.
This work contained a table of sines for a circle with a radius of 150 units. His book contained detailed descriptions of the movements of the sun, moon, and stars.
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Al-Khwarizmi’s works were highly influential and significantly impacted the development of mathematics and science in the Islamic world and beyond.
His books on algebra, trigonometry and the decimal system were translated into several languages. Most especially Latin, and were used as textbooks in European universities during the Middle Ages.
His works also significantly impacted the development of the Renaissance in Europe.