Show Notes: Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

Tracy Wilson

Statue of Al-Khwarizmi in Uzbekistan. Image by © Melvyn Longhurst/Corbis

The stereotypical high-school gripe about algebra is something along the lines of, "When will I ever use this in real life?" But algebra has completely real-world origins: When Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote his famous text, "The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing," his examples came from things like inheritance law and canal-building. Al-Khwarizmi wrote books on geography, astrology and numerals as well. Today's episode talks about his achievements and how they fit in to the greater world of mathematical discovery.

For more knowledge: How Math Works

Episode download link: Algebra's Arabic Roots

Holly's research:

"Al-Khw?rizm." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008. Retrieved from

Bowen, Joanthan P. "A Brief History of Algebra and Computing: An Eclectic Oxonian View." Oxford University Computing Laboratory. Jan. 11, 1994.,d.cWc

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "al-Khw?rizm?."

Heeffer, Albrecht. "A Conceptual Analysis of Early Arabic Algebra."

Hussain, Dr. Abid. "Islamic Laws of Inheritance."

Khan, Sal. "Origins of Algebra." Khan Academy. Feb. 10 2012.

Khuwarizmi, Muhammad ibn Musá, fl. 813-846; Robert, of Chester, fl. 1143; Karpinski, Louis Charles, 1878-1956. "Algebra of al-Khowarizmi." New York. Macmillan. 1915.

Matson, John. "The Origin of Zero." Scientific American. Aug. 21, 2009.

Syed, Dr. Ibrahim B. "Al-Khwarizmi: The Father of Algebra." On Islam. Oct. 12, 2011.

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