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Biographical Data :

Name :Al Khwarizmi
Period :770 - 840
Biographical detail : The mathematician, astronomer, geographer and a great scientist.

Although, it is not a desire to rank the various scientists it is difficult not to acknowledge the contribution of al-Khwarizmi as being one of the most important contributions to science. Our modern system relies fundamentally on the use of the numbering system created by him i.e. counting in tens, hundreds, thousands etc. rather than the cumbersome system of the Romans. Although, there is some evidence that the 'zero' was invented either in China or India it nevertheless gained prominence and widespread use under the Arab rule. Al-Khwarizmi popularised the ‘Zero’ concept in the Arabic numeral system.

Al-Khwarizmi was the originator of algorithm and its name is a derivation or corruption of the inventor’s name.

Al-Khwarizmi developed the concept of Algebra and published his work in a book called Hisab Al Jabr Wa Al Muqabla. Algebra is a name derived from this Arabic text as is "algarism" and "algarithm". His works were used until the 16th century as the principal mathematical text book in European universities.

Al-Khwarizmi was also a learned scholar of Sanskrit (Indian language) and translated several important astronomical works into Arabic. He translated Ptolemy's book on geography. He also with others developed an astronomical counting system, which fundamentally implied that the world was round and not flat as believed in other parts of the world. This work was later translated into Latin and became the foundation of astronomical studies in the Western world during the start of the enlightenment of the West.

Al-Khwarizmi’s contribution to geography is also outstanding. He not only revised Ptolemy’s views on geography, but also corrected them in detail. Seventy geographers worked under al-Khwarizmi’s leadership and they produced the first map of the globe (known world) in 830. He is also reported to have collaborated in the degree measurements ordered by Mamun al-Rashid for measuring volume and circumference of the earth. His geography book Kitab Surat-al-Ard, including maps was also translated. His other contributions include original work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes.

Al-Khwarizmi whose full name was Muhammad Bin Musa al-Khwarizmi was born in the city of Khwarizm (Kheva), a town south of river Oxus in present Uzbekistan. (Uzbekistan, a Muslim country for over a thousand years, was taken over by the Russians in 1873). His parents later on moved to Baghdad where he was brought up under the enlightened rule of al-Ma’mun (813 – 833).

Khalif al-Ma'mun promoted and gave patronage to scholars from all over the world and hence under his rule science, mathematics, medicine, history, poetry and philosophy flourished. An institution called 'Daru'l Hikma' or "House of Wisdom' was created by the Khalif with the aim of translating foreign text into Arabic. Within this institute most of the original works in Hebrew and Greek were translated. A Huaayn ibn Ishaq (a Christian scholar) translated the works of Aristotle, Plato and Hippocrates. Hunayn also wrote his own work on the eye and his ten treatises are the earliest known textbook of ophthalmology.
 (Compiler : M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin /Omar Hayat)


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