(ca. 850 – 930 AD)

Abu-Kamil Ibn-Aslam Shuja was one of the most prominent geniuses of the Islamic Golden Age. He was nicknamed “Al-Hasib Al-Misri”, (which translates to “The Egyptian Calculator”), due to his extraordinary mathematical abilities. Born in Egypt, in the same year in which Mohammad Al-Khwarizmi died, Abu-Kamil is often referred to as his successor. Although he forayed into arithmetic, astronomy and surveying, his most notable 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 above all else, Abu-Kamil is remembered today as the first person who employed irrational numbers as solutions, as well as coefficients to equations. As the intellectual heir of Al-Khwarizmi, he followed-up by building on the works of his predecessor: gaining great fame and influence as a result. Abubakar Al-Karaji of Persia was attracted to his works; and so was Leonardo Fibonacci. In fact, Fibonacci used Abu-Kamil’s works as the bases for the treatises he later published and circulated in Europe. Thus, it could be said that (in addition to Fibonacci’s efforts) the greatest progress which Medieval Europe made in mathematics was due to Abu-Kamil Shuja: who harnessed, updated and provided the best Mid-Eastern works of Mohammad Al-Khwarizmi plus the best Asian curriculum masterminded by Liu Hui.


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