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Math - Algebra

The word “algebra” isn’t a very English-sounding name for a branch of mathematics. Rightfully so, because the discipline hails from the Arab world. Its origins can be traced back to a 9th-century book authored by the Muslim mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi. The word “algebra” originated from the Arabic “al-jabr”, which roughly means "reuniting broken parts”. The word “al-jabr” is in the title of Al-Khwarizmi’s book. For this reason, Al-Khwarizmi is known as the Father of Algebra.

So what’s in his book? Al-Khwarizmi offered solutions to many different problems, including land distribution, salaries, and inheritance. His work was the first of its kind, and it paved the way for later developments in science and technology.

Al-Khwarizmi proved to be a very smart guy, being a scholar of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. This was like their top 1 Ivy League school of the time, being the center of research and studies in many fields of math and science, including chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. To get into an institution like this, it’s safe to assume that he was one of the best minds of his time.

Al-Khwarizmi’s book even contained some information on the science behind flight, which served as the foundation later on for the development of early airplanes. This publication predates Daniel Bernoulli and his discovery of the principle of lift, so he may have studied this material prior to developing his principle. Perhaps the Wright Brothers, too, took a few hints from Al-Khwarizmi’s principles when they were building their Wright flyer.

Aside from that, Al-Khwarizmi is also credited with developing the concept of the mathematical algorithm, which is used a lot today in computing. Because of this, Al-Khwarizmi is tagged by some people as the grandfather of computer science. Without algorithms, computers just would not exist, so it makes sense.