*World of Mathematics*. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.

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## Elementary algebra

Algebra was popularized in the early ninth century by Al-Khowarizmi, an Arab mathematician, and the author of the first algebra book, Al-jabr wa'l Muqabalah, from which the English word algebra is derived. An influential book in its day, it remained the standard text in algebra for a long time. The title translates roughly to "restoring and balancing," referring to the primary algebraic method of performing an operation on one side of an equation and restoring the balance, or equality, by doing the same thing to the other side. In his book, Al-Khowarizmi did not use variables as we recognize them today, but concentrated on procedures and specific rules, presenting methods for solving numerous types of problems in arithmetic. Variables based on letters of the alphabet were first used in the late 16th century by the French mathematician François Viète. The idea is simply...

This section contains 2,437 words(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page) |