Babylonian Algebra By: Laura Linares and Sofia galofre


Definition of algebra

The word algebra comes from a book published in the year 825 by a mathematician called Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi. Algebra was used to solve equations of first and second degree and it was characterized by the use of symbols.


The Babylonians had an advanced system of numbers. They invented the division of the days, the days had 24 hours, each hour consisted on 60 minutes, and 1 minute had 60 seconds.


On 1854 some tables were found. These tables showed the squares of the numbers until 59 and cubes of the numbers until 32. There were signs to represent numbers up to 60. There were multiplication and reciprocal tables.


The other type of tables, were problem tables. Their goal was the computation of numbers. On these tables were a series of problems from a specific topic. These tables were used mainly in schools.


The Babylonians used different formulas. They had different purposes the first one was to make multiplication easier, the second shows that to multiply number the only thing you need is the table of squares.

ab = [(a + b)2 - a^2 - b^2]/2

ab = [(a + b)^2 - (a - b)^2]/4

For division they based on the fact that : a/b = a × (1/b)


- Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi

- Leonhard Euler

- Eratosthenes

Applications in daily life

- Arquitecture

- Going shopping: x/y

- Simple interest: A=P(1+R)^T

- Loans: P=LR/(1-(1+R)^-T

story: PI (π)

Pi was invented because mathematicians noticed that when a person divided the circumference of a circle by it's diameter, the result would be the same. It would be a never ending number with no kind or pattern, pi. Like pi never ends, it can never be wriiten completely so we use the sign, π, or we say 3.14.


- History of mathematics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2017, from

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- Babini, J. (1969). Historia Sucinta de la Matemática (3rd ed., Vol. 1). Madrid: Coleccion Austral.

- La palabra ÁLGEBRA proviene del título de un libro Al. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2017, from

- List of Important Mathematicians - The Story of Mathematics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2017, from

- Interest Rate Formulas. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2017, from

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