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About one thousand two hundred years ago an Arabian mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, (and perhaps also a doctor) discovered that the ideas of bone-setting could be used to solve mathematical puzzles.

He used the idea of reuniting broken parts of bones to describe how to reunite broken parts of problems in mathematics.

He enjoyed problems like this one:
A bag of sesame seed is broken into three parts.
The first part is twice as large as the second part.  The third part contains 146 sesame seeds.  If there were 1763 seeds in the full bag what number of seeds were in each of the unknown parts?

2x + x + 146 = 1763
This is our algebra writing for this problem.
Now we reunite the parts.
3x + 145 = 1763
3x = 1763--146
3x = 1617
1x = 539
2x = 1078
Conclusion: There were 1078 sesame seeds in the first bag, 539 seeds in the second bag and 146 seeds in the third bag.

The word 'algebra' is simply the first word of Khwarizmi's book.  It means 'the reuniting of broken parts'.

Find out what else was happening about one thousand two hundred years ago:

Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala ...

The Arabic words which began the book which Al Khwarizmi wrote

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