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ABOUT AL-KHAWARIZMI

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Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa Al-Khawarizmi, known as Father of Algebra, was born at Khawarizm (Khiva, Uzbekistan), south of Aral Sea.  Very little is known about his early life.  His family had migrated to a place south of Baghdad.  The exact dates of his birth and death are also unknown, but it is established that he flourished under Al-Ma'amoun at Baghdad through 813-833 and probably died around 840 A.D.

    Al-Khawarizmi was a great Muslim mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He is one of the most prominent mathematicians who ever lived. He was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. His work on algebra was outstanding, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic form but he also developed it to the extent of giving analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations, which established him as the founder of Algebra. The very name Algebra has been derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah.
  
   His arithmetic synthesized Greek and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution of fundamental importance to mathematics and science. Thus, he explained the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental importance developed by the Arabs. Similarly, he developed the decimal system so that the overall system of numerals, 'algorithm' or 'algorizm' is named after him. 
  
  In addition to introducing the Indian system of numerals (now generally known as Arabic numerals), he developed at length several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions. It was through his work that the system of numerals was first introduced to Arabs and later to Europe, through its translations in European languages. He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing the sine functions, which were probably extrapolated to tangent functions by Maslama al-Majriti. He perfected the geometric representation of conic sections and developed the calculus of two errors, which practically led him to the concept of differentiation. Al-Khawarizmi is also well known for his collaboration in the degree measurements ordered by Ma'amoun al-Rashid that was aimed at measuring of volume and circumference of the earth.
    
    His development of astronomical tables was a significant contribution to the field of astronomy, on which he also wrote a book. The contribution of al-Khawarizmi to geography is also worth mentioning, in that not only did he revise Ptolemy's views on geography, but also corrected them in detail as well as his map of the world. Other contributions include original work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes.

   

    Most of al-Khawarizmi's books were translated into Latin in the early 12th century. His astronomical tables were also translated into European languages and, later, into Chinese. The influence of al-Khawarizmi on the development of science, in general, and mathematics, astronomy and geography in particular, is well established in history. No doubt al-Khawarizmi has been held in high repute throughout the centuries since then.