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(c. 780-c.850AD) Baghdad
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī was born around 780 in Baghdad and died there in or around 850. We know little of his life. He was born in the epicentre of an Islamic empire (Abbasid Caliphate) which then stretched from the Mediterranean to India. This was a very fortuitous time for Persian learning. The rulers of the Abbasid dynasty who were leading this huge empire, founded an academy in Baghdad called the House of Wisdom where the learned men collected and translated all the scientific works that they could get hold of. House of Wisdom had a large library – first famous library established after the library of Alexandria was destroyed.
Al-Khwārizmī was one of the learned men who worked in the House of Wisdom. His interests lied in the fields of algebra, geometry, astronomy and geography. His now most famous work is that from which we got the name for algebra itself – Al-kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-ğabr wa’l-muqābal.
It is not often these days that we talk about Persian or Arabic mathematics, but the period in which al-Khwārizmī lived and the House of Wisdom in which he worked, preserved for us most of the Greek and Byzantine mathematics and science that eventually led to the revival of learning in Europe.
Welcome to the new Maths is Good For You website. The old site was made in the late 2004/early 2005 when I was a mathematics teacher in a secondary school in Dover and was a recipient of the Gatsby Teacher Fellowship in Mathematics. This grant allowed me to buy a new computer and start the Maths is Good For You website.
Since then a lot of things have changed both in my life and generally around the world. The original website has had more than six million people use it since its inception. But the world, along with my readers, have outgrown it – so this new website will attempt to give the users most of the resources from the old site, whilst still giving the new and recent content that I have been working on for the past fifteen years.
Welcome to Maths is Good For You. I gave this site its name as I found in mathematics the best type of help one can have in life (other than the real living friends): a vast field of ideas neatly organised that you can study and learn from. Enjoy and let me know how you get on.