Talk:History of algebra

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 Field: Algebra (historical)

Alexandrian University?[edit]

I've removed a reference to the "university" at Alexandria. While technically, I suppose the various schools of Alexandria shared resemblance to what we would now term a "University," but the description is anachronistic, and gives the false impression that some sort of tradition of "universities" originated with the Greeks that is directly linked to the modern institutions of that name. Obviously, the word university, is not even Greek in origin, and was coined long after Hellenistic civilization collapsed. Semantic issues aside, Alexandria contained many schools, not a single unified one.

Omar Khayyam and algebraic geometry[edit]

I have removed the sentence:

Another Persian mathematician, Omar Khayyam, developed algebraic geometry[citation needed].

Since it is not sourced and also because there is evidence to the contrary:

Boyer, Carl B. (1991). "The Arabic Hegemony". A History of Mathematics (Second Edition ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 241–242. ISBN 0471543977. "One of the most fruitful contributions of Arabic eclecticism was the tendency to close the gap between numerical and geometric algebra. The decisive step in this direction came much later with Descartes, but Omar Khayyam was moving in this direction when he wrote, "Whoever thinks algebra is a trick in obtaining unknowns has thought it in vain. No attention should be paid to the fact that algebra and geometry are different in appearance. Algebras are geometric facts which are proved."" 

So although Omar Khayyam was moving in the right direction he did not actually get to the destination and so he did not "create" algebraic geometry. selfworm 23:30, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

What, no Descartes?[edit]

A history of algebra with nary a mention of René Descartes? How's that? Is his invention of analytic geometry not considered part of the history of algebra? -GTBacchus(talk) 21:13, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Don't worry, there'll soon be mention of him. Just give me about one to two weeks. selfwormTalk) 00:33, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Removed incorrect citation[edit]

I have removed the sentence "is initiated by Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī and" since this is not what the source says. The source clearly says that he "took the first steps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism." A look at his notaion will reveal that although his notation was closer to symbolic algebra than that of Diophantus or Brahmagupta, he did not have symbolic algebra since he used abbreviations such as the following,

j from jadah meaning "root"

m from mal for x2
k form kab for x3

which are not considered as being a part of symbolic algebra.

That he did not "initiate" it is even clearly stated in the given source:

Certainly symbols were not the invention of al-Qalasadi. Perhaps even more telling is that the particular symbols he used were not even his own invention since the same ones had been used by other Muslim mathematicians in North Africa 100 years earlier. [...] We must stress that he does not clam originality - this was the incorrect invention of historians 400 years

Take care. selfwormTalk) 07:42, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Italian Renaissance algebrists[edit]

General solution of cubic and quadratic equations were obtained by italian algebrists (Scipione Del Ferro...) in the XVI century. It represented a major breaktrough in the history of algebra (and maths). Shouldn't they deserve to be mentioned? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Magnagr (talkcontribs) 19:39, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Greek geometric algebra[edit]

The section cites Boyer promoting algebra in Greek geometry. In Routes of Learning (2009) Ivor Grattan-Guinness takes on this subject, indicating its roots in works by Nesselmann (1847), Hieronymus Georg Zeuthen (1886) and Paul Tannery (1882). He says

They interpreted much of the Elements, and some other Greek mathematics, as 'geometric(al) algebra' (their phrase): that is , common algebra with variables, roughly after the manner of Descartes though without necessarily anticipating his exact concerns, and limited to three geometrical dimensions.(page 172)

He goes on to make an explict case against this interpretation of Euclid. In fact, he develops a contrast between history and heritage, indicating that Nesselmann, Zeuthen, and Tannery were muddling in heritage. Thus for the History of Elementary Algebra, the article should not overstate Greek contribution.Rgdboer (talk) 23:19, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Name and subject of this article[edit]

This article named "History of elementary algebra" is entirely devoted to the history of algebra until 17th century (there are only 6 lines on more recent evolution of the field). It must be expanded to cover the history of algebra during 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. I will therefor tag it with {{incomplete}} template.

It has nothing to do with "elementary algebra" because the discoveries that are described were not elementary at their time. Therefore, I will rename it with its old name "History of algebra".

D.Lazard (talk) 14:04, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

But it really looks like elementary algebra! Ancient Rome wasnt ancient Rome when the people were living there, but now it is. Christian75 (talk) 21:11, 21 June 2014 (UTC)