Omar Khayyám, 1048 - 1131

portrait of Omar Khayyam
Artist's conception of Khayyam for 1905 tr. of Rubaiyat by Adelaide Hanscom

Born: 18 May 1048, Neyshapur, Persia
Died: 4 December 1131, Neyshapur, Persia

The Persian mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyám was born at Neyshapur, Persia on this day in 1048. Neyshapur is located in northeastern Iran at an elevation of 1250 m (4,101 feet) and was one of the principal cities of Islam at the time. Little is known of his early life although his name suggests his family was involved in tent making. He dramatically advanced algebra, solving problems and proving theorems that Europeans didn't catch up to for half a millennium, and calculated the length of the year to nine digits of precision, much more accurate than the Gregorian calendar that also came a half millennium later. Unbeknownst to his contemporaries, he also wrote several hundred rubaiyat (quatrains) which only found a wide audience in 1859 when Edward Fitzgerald first published an English translation of many of them.

Biography from Wikipedia and MacTutor History of Mathematics

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