History of Islamic Mathematics

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# History of Islamic Mathematics

Submitted by ETGalante on Mon, 04/24/2006 - 20:57

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Hi,

I would like to know wich would be a very recomended (recognized, confiable) source os information about Islamic Maths. I mean, a book. I think i have already good web-sources. But I would like to know about some book on this subject.

Thank you.

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## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

There is no such thing as Islamic Mathematics. There is only Greek mathematics which the Ottoman Empire allowed its Greek subjects to preserve.

## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

> There is no such thing as Islamic Mathematics. There is only

> Greek mathematics which the Ottoman Empire allowed its Greek

> subjects to preserve.

I think that statement is very likely to be false.

Of course "islamic mathematics" is as much a stretch as

"greek mathematics" or "american mathematics". However, this

sort of usage is widespread. You need only look at islamic

architecture to find many beautiful examples of mathematical

patterns (and I'm sure there is much more to the story than

just that!).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_architecture

## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

> There is no such thing as Islamic Mathematics. There is only

> Greek mathematics which the Ottoman Empire allowed its Greek

> subjects to preserve.

That is a ridiculous claim. The Arab world has made some of the most important contributions to mathematics. In particular, mathematics florished during the early medieval ages in the arab world, while the rest of the west produced next to nothing. I'll just name two examples: the word algorithm comes from the mathematician's name Al-Khwarizmi, whose book "Kitab fi al-jabr wa'l-muqabala" (al-jabr -> Algebra) gave name to the subject itself. The other example is an entry I am about to write for Planetmath. Thabit ibn Qurra (836-901) found quite a remarkable formula for amicable numbers.

Any book on the history of mathematics will stress this fact. Answering the original question, I have two sources:

1) "The history of mathematics: a brief course" by Roger Cooke has a chapter dedicated to Islamic Mathematics. It is a nice introduction to the subject (brief though).

2) "The muslim contribution to mathematics", Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, must be a much more comprehensive source.

Alvaro

## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

This is one of the greatest myths that have struck the occident:

"The middle ages were a time when nothing happened". The truth is that while Europe was deep in a dark age, the Islamic countries had absorbed the science from the Greeks, made it their own and create new one.

The fact is that Math as it is today owes to much to the Islam world. I give you another one, since someone already posted a couple; the numeral system. While it originated in India, it migrated to the Islamic world, and then to Europe. In fact, the person acknowledged to spread the system in Europe, Fibonacci, studied in Algeria.

## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

Not to mention that a significant part of the greek literature (including Euclid's Elements) were firstly translated to modern european languages with the help of arabic translations made centuries earlier.

## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

I didn't know mathematics had a religion... (?!)

## Re: History of Islamic Mathematics

Have a look at the Crest of the Peacock.