Algebra is an essential part of mathematics that we use in our everyday lives, but have you ever wondered who first introduced these methods? Meet Mohammed ben Musa, a prominent Persian mathematician and astronomer from the 9th century. His Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing introduced modern algebraic methods that fundamentally changed the way we approach solving equations.
This work is considered the foundation of algebra, and the word ‘algebra’ itself derives from it. Friedrich August Rosen, a German orientalist, translated the book from Arabic to English in 1831, making it available to a wider audience. The book includes essential algebraic methods such as reduction, completion, and balancing, along with an account of how to solve polynomial equations up to the second degree. Rosen’s introduction and notes make the book even more engaging for those interested in the history of mathematics. The Algebra of Mohammed ben Musa remains relevant today and serves as a testament to his enduring legacy in mathematics.