Muhammad Ibn Mūsā al-Khuwārizmī (c. ~780-850)

Muhammad Ibn Mūsā al-Khuwārizmī (c. ~780-850)

Mathematician and scientist who worked at the House of Wisdom founded by Caliph al-Maʾmūn in Baghdad.


al-Khuwārizmī (~780-850)

As was often the custom in Persian and Arabic cultures, the family name was derived from the individual’s place of birth. Therefore, Muhammad, son of Mūsā was originally from Khuwārizm (which today is the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan) from which was derived his family name, al-Khuwārizmī, which means from Khuwāriz.

His works did not reach Europe in their original form; they were introduced through Latin translations. One of his most interesting works, Algoritmi de numero Indorum, presents rules for numeric calculations based on Indian algorithms, which used a positional numeral system that employed the base 10 (using ten symbols). This new notation led to the introduction of the term algorithm. However, al-Khuwārizmī’s main work is Hisâb al-jabr wa’l-muqqâbala whose title, translated into English as “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”, includes the term al-jabr, from which the term algebra was derived.

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