(850 – 930 AD)

Abu-Kamil Ibn-Aslam Shuja was among the most prominent geniuses of the Islamic Golden Age. His epithet: “Al-Hasib Al-Misri”, (which means “The Egyptian Calculator”), resulted from his extraordinary mathematical abilities. Born in Egypt, in the same year Muhammad Al-Khwarizmi died, Abu-Kamil is often referred to as his successor. Although he forayed impressively into arithmetic, logic, astronomy and survey, his glorious achievements were in algebra and geometry. The treatises he published in these fields were among the best-selling science texts of that era. Some of them which were later translated to English include: the Book on Algebra, the Book on Survey and Geometry, the Book of Two Errors, the Book of Kernel, and the Book on Augmentation and Diminution. But more prevalently, Abu-Kamil is lauded today as the first person who utilized irrational numbers as solutions, as well as coefficients to equations. As the scientific heir of Al-Khwarizmi, he followed-up by building on the works of his predecessor: gaining great fame and influence as a result. Abubakr Al-Karaji of Persia was attracted to his works: just like Leonardo Fibonacci. In fact, Fibonacci benefitted immensely from Abu-Kamil’s accomplishments: using them as bases for the treatises he later published and circulated in Europe. Hence, it could be said that (in addition to Fibonacci’s own efforts) the greatest progress which Medieval Europeans made in mathematics was due to Abu-Kamil. He improved and provided the best Middle Eastern works of Al-Khwarizmi, plus those superb Asian curricula, which were masterminded by prevenient Indian and Chinese mavens.


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