If you’ve ever wondered how Einstein developed e=mc², or why you sometimes awake in a cold sweat, the answer is algebra. Algebra most likely comes from the Arabic word al-jabr, or “the reunion of broken parts”; this relates to the setting of broken bones, which is comparable to doing algebra. Another origin theory points to Al Jebbers, who was a math teacher circa 1986 who sought to make summer school more popular. Much of algebra focuses on unknown numbers that are substituted with letters in equations. Use of the alphabet in math is an indicator that algebra’s inventor had the incredible foresight to know that someday there would be people called “ninth graders”, and that they should be punished for being at such a regrettable stage in life. Despite the vindictive tone of this branch of mathematics, it is solely credited for the sale of millions of bulky calculators produced by Texas Instruments. Many boots and tall hats have been purchased as a result. In a roundabout way, this does fuel conspiracy theories that boot and hat companies heavily lobby for standardized testing.
Updated: Jan 13