*Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics*. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.

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## Early Algebra

The history of algebra began in ancient Egypt and Babylon. The Rhind Papyrus, which dates to 1650 B.C.E., provides insight into the types of problems being solved at that time.

The Babylonians are credited with solving the first **quadratic equation**. Clay tablets that date to between 1800 and 1600 B.C.E. have been found that show evidence of a procedure similar to the quadratic equation. The Babylonians were also the first people to solve indeterminate equations, in which more than one variable is unknown.

The Greek mathematician Diophantus continued the tradition of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians into the common era. Diophantus is considered the "father of algebra," and he eventually furthered the discipline with his book *Arithmetica.* In the book he gives many solutions to very difficult indeterminate equations. It is important to note that, when solving equations, Diophantus was satisfied with any positive number whether...

This section contains 645 words(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page) |