Algebra is a field of mathematics and many people dismiss it as being one of the more complicated mathematical subjects. But most people are unfamiliar with the history behind algebra. The Greeks introduced algebra to the world in the third century and the early Babylonians began creating formulas and equations that we still use today.
And whether you realize it or not, algebra is incredibly useful in your everyday life. Algebra helps you understand how to balance your checkbook, how to tip, and how much money you need to save to be able to afford your vacation. It can also help you in your career and help you better understand the economy.
Throughout history, people have made discoveries that have influenced algebra but some made more of an impact than others. Here are five famous people who had a major influence on algebra:
Diophantus was a Greek mathematician and is known as the “father of algebra”. He wrote a series of books called “Arithmetica” which dealt with solving algebraic equations. Many of these books were lost over time. He was the first Greek mathematician to recognize fractions as numbers. He also made huge advances in mathematical notation.
Charles Babbage was born in 1791 in London to a wealthy family that was able to provide him with an elite education from an early age. He attended Trinity College in Cambridge but found he was far more advanced than most of his math tutors. Babbage co-founded the Analytical Society for developing mathematics and reforming the style of mathematics that was taught in universities at the time.Throughout his life, Babbage made many significant contributions in the fields of mathematics and algebra.
Sir Isaac Newton was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and theologian. He is considered by many to be one of the most influential people in history. After receiving a degree from Trinity College in Cambridge he began developing theories on calculus over the next two years.
There was controversy over whether Newton or a German mathematician named Leibniz actually developed calculus. It is believed that both men developed theories about calculus on their own.
Newton is also credited for the discovery of the binomial theorem which explains the algebraic expansion of powers of a binomial.
Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist who was born in Germany in 1879. He discovered the general theory of relativity which is one of the two pillars of modern physics. He also researched the thermal properties of light which helped to lay the groundwork for the photon theory of light.
Archimedes was a Greek mathematician and there is very little known about his life. He was also an engineer, inventor, and astronomer but he was most passionate about mathematics. He produced a formula to calculate the area of regular shaped by using shapes he already understood to capture new shapes. He called this the “method of exhaustion” but today it is simply known as the Archimedes method.