Who Is the Father of Modern Algebra?

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The man known as “the father of modern algebraic notation” was French mathematician Francois Viète, according to the math department at Rutgers University. His substitution of letters to mark unspecified or unknown number quantities is recognized as the beginning step in the creation of the algebraic system.

Francois Viète was born in 1540 and served under both King Henry III and King Henry IV, deciphering Spanish codes during France’s war with Spain, according to Rutgers. At the time, Viète saw his work not as the start of a new mathematical system but instead as a reworking of existing math standards and practices to make the work easier.