History of Mathematics
Dr. Gregory Rhoads and Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald
Where to Get Help
Dr. Rhoads' Office Hours
334 Walker Hall,
262-2741. Feel free to call my office to see if I'm in when it isn't my office hours.
326 Walker Hall,
I am always happy to help you in office hours. An open door
means that I am on the floor somewhere, so come look for me.
Check the main web page often.
The WebCT Bulletin Board
is the easiest way to ask a math question outside of class and office hours.
We prefer that you use office hours since it is easier to discuss
material in person, but if you can not make them, then the newsgroup
is a great alternative.
Burton, David M. The History of Mathematics (Fifth Edition),
Hill, New York, 2003
This text is available for rental from the bookstore.
This is a great reference on the
history of math. You'll find it to be an excellent resource.
Dunham, William, Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems
of Mathematics, Wiley, New York, 1990.
text is available for purchase from the bookstore.
A wonderful book
discussing some of the major ideas in mathematics through it's history.
There is an excellent transition between the ideas showing how different
branches of mathematics can be generated from the same problem.
Guedj, Denis, The Parrot's Theorem (translated by Frank Wynne),
Thomas Dunn Books, New York, 2000.
This text is available for purchase from the bookstore.
A fun mystery with
math history as its basis. A nice introduction to the topic for the
access to a web-browser at least once every 48 hours
loose-leaf notebook to organize handouts, notes and your work
printouts of your work -
for information about ASU charging for print services.
materials for poster project
Course Goals and Methodology
Learn about the historical progression of mathematics and the
mathematicians who contributed to this progression, including the
mathematics of living mathematicians.
Develop the ability to research topics and
summarize and critically evaluate sources and materials.
Develop communication skills through
in-class discussions and/or presentations,
and web page design.
By learning mathematics within the context of its historical progression,
students develop a greater appreciation for connections between various
disciplines of mathematics and the dynamical nature of the subject. By
investigating the mathematical contributions of people in other lands and
times, students will see mathematics as a discipline for everyone that
transcends culture, time, race, and gender. In this course, we will
examine the history of algebra, geometry, number theory, and other areas
of mathematics and learn about the culturally diverse mathematicians who
worked in these areas. Students will be expected to complete projects
appropriate for their background and major. These projects could include
research reports, classroom activities, presentations, or problem sets.
The course is 2 credit hours and will meet for only 10 weeks total
out of the 15 weeks (dates TBA).
A study of the development of mathematical thought, mathematics and culture,
and the persons who have made significant contributions to these.
Participation in Classroom Activities 20%
Regular classes will consist of discussions, activities, problem
solving, and a little bit of standard lecturing. As such,
students will learn little from this course if they don't attend
or actively engage the material.
Therefore, you are expected to complete homework,
critically read the literature, and actively participate in the
class discussions and lab exercises.
While these kinds of baseline activities
will result in a participation grade of 16/20, other activities can increase
or decrease this grade. Asking and answering thought-provoking questions,
coming up with creative ways of thinking about the material, and explaining
the material to others are some examples of positive participation that will
increase your grade. On the other hand, actions that illustrate you are
not taking the class or the activities seriously will result in a lower
participation grade (we shouldn't have to mention these specifically, you
know what they are): doing work or holding conversations
unrelated to the class, sleeping in class, letting your cell phone ring in
class, talking to your neighbors instead of engaging the material,
challenging authority instead of looking for answers within yourself, leaving
the classroom, refusing to engage in the baseline activities and performing
other activities that detract from the professional classroom environment
will result in a lowered participation grade.
There will be days when the activities are designed to be completed
during class. Thus, attendance is required at ALL classes.
If the university is open and you miss part or all of a class,
whether it is for an official or unofficial reason,
you will be counted as absent.
Save your absences for emergencies!
If you must be late to a class, or must leave early, then do still
attend, although you can expect that the portion of the class that you miss
will be deducted from your attendance allowance.
You will receive
(-.7*credit hours of absences + 2.1) / 100
added onto or subtracted from your final average.
Missing more than 5 classes will result in an automatic grade of F in the
Students will be expected to complete projects appropriate for their
background and major. These projects could include research reports,
classroom activity sheets, presentations, or problem sets.
Work may be turned in before, but never after the due date with
the exception of one emergency late project over the course of the
semester which must be turn in within one week from the original due
Some projects may occur during the last week of classes.
Tests are designed to reinforce readings and course material.
Tests may be oral, written or on WebCT.
No make-ups allowed (may occur during the last week of classes).
Final Project Poster and Web Project 25% will occur on
Tuesday 5/7/03 from 9-11:30. No make-ups allowed.
There will extra credit opportunities during the
semester for which points will accumulate. When final grades are
given, extra credit points are taken into account in the determination of
-, nothing, or + attached to a letter grade.
For example, if you attend and contribute to classes that are designated
for only the graduate students, then you will receive extra credit.
Plan to spend approximately
2 hours outside of class for each hour in class,
on average, on this course.
You are responsible for all material covered and all announcements
and assignments made at each class, whether
you are present or not. You are also responsible for announcements
made on the web pages, so check them often.
Asking questions, and explaining things to others, in or out of class,
is one of the best ways to improve your understanding of the material.
We will promote an environment in which everyone
feels comfortable asking questions,
making mistakes, offering good guesses and ideas, and is respectful to
Turn in projects or prepare to present problems
even if it they are not complete, even if only to say, "I do not
understand such and such" or "I am stuck here."
Be as specific as possible.
When writing up work, be sure to give acknowledgment where it is due.
Submitting someone else's work as your own (PLAGIARISM) is a serious
violation of the University's Academic Integrity Code.
In this course, you will be challenged with problems that you have never
seen before. We do not expect you to be able to resolve all the issues
immediately. Instead, we want to see what you can do on your own.
Out in the real world, this is important, since no matter what job
you have, you will be expected to seek out information and answers
to new topics you have not seen before.
This may feel uncomfortable and frustrating. We understand this
and want to help you through the process.
It helps to remember that
there are no mathematical dead-ends!
Each time we get stuck, it teaches us
something about the problem we are working on, and leads us to a
deeper understanding of the mathematics.
In the real world though, you are not expected to face your work alone.
You will be allowed to talk to other people
and you may even be expected to work with other people.
In this class, you are also not expected to face your work alone.
We are always happy to help you in class, during office hours (or by
appointment), or on the WebCT bulletin board, and will
try to give you hints and direction.
At times though, to encourage the exploration process,
we may direct you to rethink a problem
and come back to discuss it later. It is important to not only
understand the correct solution and why it works, but also to understand
why other potential solutions don't work. This
struggling with different techniques is imperative for your
deep understanding of the material.