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

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It is generally believed that algebra originated from the early arithmetic used in Babylonia around 1800-1600 b.c. Clay tablets bearing mathematical and algebraic tables show that the Babylonians had a rudimentary understanding of algebra and were able to solve simple equations. While the ancient Egyptians and Greeks also dabbled in mathematics and basic arithmetic, they were not as advanced in their knowledge. By 150 b.c., the use of algebra and mathematics, particularly among the Romans, became an important basis of astronomical study. One of the leaders in this area was the Greek mathematician Diophantus. Although very little is known about his life and even the exact period in which he lived (ca. 210-290 a.d.) is uncertain, his work with algebraic equations, symbolism and indeterminate solutions was of great importance to future generations. In fact, equations having integer solutions are still commonly referred to as Diophantine equations in...

This section contains 1,046 words(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page) |