Muhammad al khowarizmi

Muhammad al-Khowarizmi, from a 1983 USSR commemorative stamp scanned by Donald Knuth

The word "algebra" is a shortened misspelled transliteration of an Arabic title al-jebr w'al-muqabalah (circa 825) by the Persian mathematician known as al-Khowarismi. The al-jebr part means "reunion of broken parts", the second part al-muqabalah translates as "to place in front of, to balance, to oppose, to set equal." Together they describe symbol manipulations common in algebra: combining like terms, moving a term to the other side of an equation, etc.


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