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2 - Islamic Mathematics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2013

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Summary

By the time al-Kāshī, the last major figure in medieval Islamic mathematics, died in 1429, the Muslims had brought mathematics a long way from the Greek and Hindu elements with which they had begun. Calculation, in medieval mathematics, included both arithmetic and algebra. Medieval Islam knew at least three different systems of arithmetic: mental arithmetic, astronomical arithmetic, and decimal arithmetic. One must remember that Islamic mathematicians achieved their greatest results in algebra without the use of algebraic symbolism. Islamic algebraists contributed importantly to the study of Diophantine equations, which demand integer or fractional solutions to a single equation in more than one unknown. Investigations of equations of the Diophantine type and the theory of numbers are closely related subjects. Another set of problems requiring determination of an unknown number involved what now called as combinatorics. One area that medieval Islam did transform was trigonometry.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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