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Islamic Mathematics

Islamic Mathematics

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Published by: hehehehe0 on Jun 18, 2009
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Mathematics in medieval Islam
or sometimes referred to as
is a term used in the history of mathematics that refers tothe mathematics developed in the Islamic world between 622 and 1600,in the part of the world where Islam was the dominant religion. Islamicscience and mathematics flourished under the Islamic caliphate (alsoknown as the Islamic Empire) established across the Middle East,Central Asia, North Africa, Sicily, the Iberian Peninsula, and in parts of France and India in the 8th century. The center of Islamic mathematicswas located in Persia (including eastern part of present-day Iraq) , but atits greatest extent stretched from North Africa and Spain in the west andto India in the east.
 While most scientists in this period were Muslims and wrote in Arabic, agreat portion and many of the best known of the contributors were of Persian origin
but there were also Berbers, Arabs, Moors, Turks, andsometimes different religions (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sabians,Zoroastrians, irreligious).
. Arabic was the dominant language—muchlike Latin in Medieval Europe, Arabic was used as the chosen writtenlanguage of most scholars throughout the Islamic world
Origins and influences
The first century of the Islamic Arab Empire saw almost no scientific or mathematical achievements since the Arabs, with their newly conqueredempire, had not yet gained any intellectual drive and research in other  parts of the world had faded. In the second half of the eighth centuryIslam had a cultural awakening, and research in mathematics and thesciences increased.
The Muslim Abbasid caliph al-Mamun (809-833)is said to have had a dream where Aristotle appeared to him, and as aconsequence al-Mamun ordered that Arabic translation be made of as
many Greek works as possible, including Ptolemy's
. Greek works would be given to the Muslims by theByzantine Empire in exchange for treaties, as the two empires held anuneasy peace.
Many of these Greek works were translated by Thabitibn Qurra (826-901), who translated books written by Euclid,Archimedes, Apollonius, Ptolemy, and Eutocius.
Historians are in debtto many Islamic translators, for it is through their work that manyancient Greek texts have survived only through Arabic translations.Greek, Indian and Babylonian all played an important role in thedevelopment of early Islamic mathematics. The works of mathematicians such as Euclid, Apollonius, Archimedes, Diophantus,Aryabhata and Brahmagupta were all acquired by the Islamic world andincorporated into their mathematics. Perhaps the most influentialmathematical contribution from India was the decimal place-value Indo-Arabic numeral system, also known as the Hindu numerals.
ThePersian historian al-Biruni (c. 1050) in his book 
Tariq al-Hind 
states thatthe Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun had an embassy in India from which was brought a book to Baghdad that was translated into Arabic as
.It is generally assumed that
is none other than Brahmagupta's
The earliest translations from Sanskritinspired several astronomical and astrological Arabic works, now mostlylost, some of which were even composed in verse.
 Indian influences were later overwhelmed by Greek mathematical andastronomical texts. It is not clear why this occurred but it may have beendue to the greater availability of Greek texts in the region, the larger number of practitioners of Greek mathematics in the region, or becauseIslamic mathematicians favored the deductive exposition of the Greeksover the elliptic Sanskrit verse of the Indians. Regardless of the reason,Indian mathematics soon became mostly eclipsed by or merged with the"Graeco-Islamic" science founded on Hellenistic treatises.
Another likely reason for the declining Indian influence in later periods was dueto Sindh achieving independence from the Caliphate, thus limiting
access to Indian works. Nevertheless, Indian methods continued to playan important role in algebra, arithmetic and trigonometry.
 Besides the Greek and Indian tradition, a third tradition which had asignificant influence on mathematics in medieval Islam was the"mathematics of practitioners", which included the applied mathematicsof "surveyors, builders, artisans, in geometric design, tax and treasuryofficials, and some merchants." This applied form of mathematicstranscended ethnic divisions and was a common heritage of the landsincorporated into the Islamic world.
This tradition also includes thereligious observances specific to Islam, which served as a major impetusfor the development of mathematics as well as astronomy.
Islam and mathematics
A major impetus for the flowering of mathematics as well as astronomyin medieval Islam came from religious observances, which presented anassortment of problems in astronomy and mathematics, specifically intrigonometry, spherical geometry,
and arithmetic.
 The Islamic law of inheritance served as an impetus behind thedevelopment of algebra (derived from the Arabic
) byMuhammad ibn M
and other medieval Islamicmathematicians. Al-Khw
 Hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala
devoteda chapter on the solution to the Islamic law of inheritance using algebra.He formulated the rules of inheritance as linear equations, hence hisknowledge of quadratic equations were not required.
Later mathematicians who specialized in the Islamic law of inheritanceincluded Al-Hass
r, who developed the modern symbolic mathematicalnotation for fractions in the 12th century,
and Ab
al-Hasan ibn Al
, who developed an algebraic notation which took "the firststeps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism" in the 15thcentury.
 In order to observe holy days on the Islamic calendar in which timingswere determined by phases of the moon, astronomers initially used

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