Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day X: Algebra's father

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.


Centuries ago, Baghdad housed a building- the House of Wisdom- a library that sheltered all those thirsty for knowledge. It wasn't just a library but a research centre, a translation institute, and an inter-faith, inter-cultural discussion platform.

Depiction of the House of Wisdom by Yahya ibn Wasiti

Imagine all the great minds coming in from all around the world, to this place that provides them with all the resources they need, and thinking together. The result is most of the concepts that our modern world operates on.

Muhammad ibn Musa al Khawarizmi had already introduced the Indian decimal system to the rest of the world, presented co-ordinates of many areas on our map, wrote a plan on how to make a world map, worked on the sundial and the astrolabe, when one day...he came up with the beginnings and the source of a many 'Find X' on examinations around the world: Algebra.



  1. so he's the one who came up with this troubling mathematical concept of algebra!

  2. A reference to algebra is such a clever way to deal with Day X!

  3. Haha, funny because I was solving this Algebra problem some time back. The House of Wisdom seems like such an amazing place, and yes, it would be a place for the greatest thinkers, so multi-functional.

  4. Algebra has given me so many problems throughout my school life, I'm struggling to say something nice about it haha. Nevertheless I think the A to Z blogging challenge sounds cool and I'm looking forward to reading more posts about it on your blog! Iraqi culture seems fascinating.

  5. It is amazing to think that great math ideas were created so many centuries ago.

  6. This House of Wisdom sounds like a dream come true - I hope it re-emerges someday soon.
    Happy A to Z!

  7. Ooh, I knew about Al-Khawarizmi and how one of the operations he used [al-jabr] gave rise to the word algebra.

    The House of Wisdom... wow, sounds like paradise. Does it/ do its ruins survive even today?


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