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Wednesday, 10 September 2014 11:19

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (16)

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (16)

The renowned and acclaimed Iranian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, geographer, and historian, Abu Jafar Mohammad ibn Mousa Kharazmi lived during the Abbasid era. His actual date of birth and death is not known. He was born in the city of Kharazm prior to 185 AH. This city is located in the present day Uzbekistan.

His scientific fame is mainly due to his innovations in mathematics, especially in Al-Jabra. The fact of the matter is that none of the mathematicians of his era influenced the science of mathematics as he did. Hence, he is known as the Father of Al-Jabra. The American historian, George Sarton, in his book, entitled “A Prelude to History of Science”, has referred to 9th lunar century as the era of Kharazmi.

Kharazmi is the well-known Iranian mathematician, whose studies and compilations are still taken into consideration in the current era. Many of the renowned translators of the Middle Ages have translated his scientific tome on Al-Jabra. He was mainly skilled in resolution of linear and second class equations. The translation of his book on addition and deduction of Indian numbers led the numbering system in Europe to adopt Indian-Arabic numbering system, which has remained common to this day in Europe and other parts of the world. The term Al-Jabra was taken from Kharazmi’s books by the Europeans. During the reign of Abbasid caliph, Ma’moun, this renowned Iranian scientist joined the royal court, and was a member of an assembly of scientists in Baghdad.

Although Kharazmi penned a large number of books on different scientific courses, little is known about his life. The majority of studies in this regard focus on his scientific achievements. Based on estimations, he was born between 164 AH to 184 AH, and possibly passed away in 232 AH. In the introduction of his well-known book on Al-Jabra, he was pictured himself as a faithful and pious Muslim. It seems that Kharazmi’s family originated from Transoxiana, and Khorasan, who took up residence in the city of Baghdad at the time of construction of this city by the Abbasid caliph, Ma’moun.

Following the fall of Omayyad dynasty in 132 AH and empowerment of Abbasid dynasty; the Iranians, who played a main role in this development, were appointed to important portfolios. The special focus of Iranians on mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and other branches of science, led Abbasid caliphs to develop an interest in supporting scientists under the influence of their Iranian ministers. The Abbasid caliph, Haroun, came to power a few years prior to birth of Kharazmi. Throughout his reign, the Iranian Barmakian dynasty, which maintained an age-old background in supporting scientists, came to power. This Iranian dynasty made every effort to translate scientific books from Greek and Syriac languages and to advance scientific and philosophical studies.

Kharazmi was on the spotlight throughout the rule of Abbasid caliph, Ma’moun. He was considered to be the main courtier mathematician and astronomer. He was also well familiar with the sciences and customs of India. He took the responsibility of preparation of an atlas, depicting the map of earth. He was possibly one of the scientists that took part in the measurement of Earth’s meridian.

It is said that Kharazmi, prior to joining the royal court, was sent to India to learn Indian calculus. Upon his return from India, he authored two major books on India’s calculus, and the science of Al-Jabra. He blended the results which the Greek and Indians had achieved and in this manner transferred a number of findings in Al-Jabra, which in turn highly influenced the science of mathematics after his era.

Kharazmi founded al-Jabra in the 3rd lunar century, which maintained all of the aspects of the present day sciences. With the assistance of Al-Jabra, this mathematician managed to solve all of his era’s second degree equations, paving the way for the resolution of other equations with a higher degree. A renowned French researcher has pointed out the irrefutable fact that Kharazmi has been the actual al-Jabra teacher of new European nations.

In accordance to books remaining from Indian scientists in the ancient times, the people of Babylon and India had managed to solve particular cases of second degree equations. However, these solutions were presented to meet the everyday needs of people and were not rendered for the purpose of development of the science of mathematics. These solutions also lacked scientific reasoning.

The innovation of Kharazmi was to initially study all of the second degree equations of his era.in the second phase, he presented the solutions to these equations and in the third phase he proved all of these approaches with the help of science of geometry. The parameters that he presented led to foundation of the science of Al-Jabra. This science gained its way through Europe in the Middle Ages via the Latin translation of Kharazmi’s books, leading to major developments in mathematics. In the 16th Century AD, the Italian mathematicians, Niccolo Tartaglia and Gerolamo Cardano, who were familiar with the Latin translations of Kharazmi’s book on Al-Jabra, expanded the method of this Iranian mathematician for resolution of third degree equations, and in this manner took a major step in development of the science of mathematics.

Khayyam is another acclaimed Iranian mathematician, whose works have separated Al-Jabra from Calculus, thereby taking a major step in the development of the science of Al-Jabra.

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