(780 – 850 AD)

Europe colonized and civilized much of the world. But long before then, this Persian scholar single-handedly civilized Europeans with his superior mathematics. He was the mastermind who improved horary quadrants, refined trigonometric tables, and introduced the Hindu decimal system to Europe. His brilliance and influence were such that the word “algorithm” was derived from his surname: Al-Khwarizmi. And after Europeans were awe-struck by his publication whose title was shortened to Al Jabr, (but in full is Al-Kitab Al-Mukhtasar Fi Hisab Al-Jabr Wa’l-Muqabala), the term Algebra was devised for that branch of mathematics. Till today, Muhammad Al-Khwarizmi is acknowledged by many as the “Father of Modern Algebra”. He is also fondly appreciated as one of the top pioneers of modern science, who was of Islamic faith. As an inspirational teacher and writer, his efforts (more than anyone else’s) helped in advancing the mathematical knowledge of medieval Europe. The Italian whizkid, Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, (popularly known as Fibonacci) gained fame just by popularizing the Asian math methods, which Al-Khwarizmi had translated, advanced and preserved. Although Fibonacci was a world-class mathematician, he defers to Al-Khwarizmi in every aspect of greatness. As one of the most influential mathematicians, Al-Khwarizmi’s contributions to astronomy and geography are often overshadowed by those he made to mathematics. The moon’s impact crater Al-Khwarizmi is among his many eponyms.

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