Mathematics of Persia

Essay by mannie04High School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

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Until the sixth century BC, there were people shrouded in mystery. Living in the area

east of the Mesopotamian region, the Persians were a disparate group of

Indo-European tribes, some nomadic, some settled, that were developing their own

culture and religion unique from that of the great cities to their west. The Persians

throughout their history, such as we know it, lived peacefully in the region just north

of the Persian Gulf (modern day Iran).

Persia was also famous for its research in maths. Many important

mathematicians and especially mathematical astronomers lived and worked in Persia.

Mathematicians in Persia often discovered mathematical principles many centuries

before mathematicians in Europe did. They were also the first people to read what the

ancient Greeks had said about maths and to copy it and pass it on later to Europeans.

Persians also made many very beautiful mathematical and astronomical instruments,

especially astrolabes. The Persians were mathematically endowed and were able to

solve things that we are not able to solve today.

They used such concepts as the

Pascal's Triangle. They revised the quadratic equation and introduced the algorithm.

Among others was the hypocycloid.

Pascal's triangle is named after the French mathematician and philosopher

Blaise Pascal, who wrote a Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle describing it. But

Pascal was not the first to draw out this triangle or to notice its amazing properties!

Long before Pascal, 10th century Indian mathematicians described this array of

numbers as useful for representing the number of combinations of short and long

sounds in poetic meters. The triangle also appears in the writings of Omar Khayyam,

the great eleventh-century astronomer, poet, philosopher, and mathematician, who

lived in what is modern-day Iran.

A Quadratic Equation is a polynomial equation in which the highest power of

the unknown variable is 2.