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Tag: Greece

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Mathematics

As Astronomy developed so in tandem did mathematics and geometry. The great Arab polymaths changed the world in which live by their mastery of mathematics.

1.                               Without doubt the most important breakthrough was the language of mathematics: the introduction of ‘Arabic’ numerals from India, and their use for the first time of a decimal point.

2.                               Introducing Zero to mainstream mathematics was the other massive breakthrough: so enormous that we can hardly grasp its importance… the idea of representing nothing with a symbol.

3.                               In the ninth century Persian polymath al-Khwarizmi gave us Algorithms, which form the basis of most computer programming… indeed our word ‘Algorithm’ is derived from his name.

4.                               Al-Khwarizmi is credited with writing the first book on Algebra as well. It’s title was The Compendious Book on calculation by Completion and Balancing, and was published about 820 AD.

5.                               Arab mathematics honed the work of the Greeks, the Romans as well as that of South Asia. And this work was channelled directly into Europe through Islamic Spain and, with time, made available to the great minds of the Renaissance.



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Peer Review

Peer Review was first described by al-Rahwi, working in Damascus in the ninth century AD. In his ‘The Ethics of the Physician’, he states that the physician must always make duplicate notes of a patient’s condition on every visit. He said this was important so that when the patient has been discharged or has died, one set of notes can be given to a local medical council, to ascertain whether satisfactory medical care was provided. It was the start of lawsuits for medical malpractice… something that many a legal service may have wish was never invented at all.



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