What they are teaching us: The first man to use algebraic symbols was the French mathematician, Francois Vieta. In 1591, he wrote an algebra book describing equations with letters such as the now familiar x and ys. Asimov says that this discovery had an impact similar to the progression from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers.

What is correct: Muslim mathematicians are the inventors of algebra. They introduced the concept of using letters for unknown variables in equations as early as the 9th century A.D. Through this system, they solved a variety of complex equations, including quadratic and cubic equations. They used symbols to develop and perfect the binomial theorem.


What they are teaching us: The difficult cubic equations (x to the third power) remained unsolved until the 16th century when Niccolo Tartaglia, an Italian mathematician, solved them.

What Is correct: Cubic equations as well as many other equations of even higher degrees were solved with ease by Muslim mathematicians as early as the 10th century.


What they are Teaching us: The concept that numbers could be less than zero, that is negative numbers (e.g. -5, -2,-8 e.t.c) was unknown until 1545 when Geronimo Cardano introduced the idea.

What is correct: Muslim mathematicians introduced negative numbers for use in a variety of arithmetic functions at least,90 years priorto Cardano.


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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