History of Mathematics
Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald and Dr. Gregory S. Rhoads
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.
Dr. Sarah's Office Hours
326 Walker Hall, 262-2363. 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.
We will indicate the parts of the web page for the grad students only.
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), McGraw
Hill, New York, 2003. This is a great reference on the
history of math and should be a part of your personal math library.
You'll find it to be an excellent resource.
Dunham, William, Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems
of Mathematics, Wiley, New York, 1990. 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. 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 - see http://pharos.appstate.edu/
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.
Understand the philosophical approach towards various mathematical subjects
and how that approach changed through the years.
Develop the ability to research topics and summarize and critically evaluate
sources and materials.
Develop communication skills through writing, 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, calculus,
differential equations, linear algebra, statistics,
and other areas of mathematics
and learn about the culturally diverse mathematicians who worked in these
areas. Students will be expected to complete projects to illustrate their
understanding of the theoretical ideas in these areas and to communicate
these ideas to a lower level audience. These projects could include research
reports, classroom activities, presentations, or problem sets. The course
is 3 credit hours and will meet for all 15 weeks. As this course
is cross-listed with the 2-hour course MAT 3010, there will be days where
only graduate students will attend. On these days, we will look at
graduate level material
that will be above the expectation of the typical undergraduate.
On the days where both undergraduate students and graduate students will
attend, graduate students will be expected to go more deeply into the
mathematics and will have additional assignments and different tests
to reflect the difference in level.
The history and development of mathematical thought and theory from ancient
to modern times, with particular attention to the history of geometry,
algebra, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and statistics,
and to the persons who made significant contributions to these areas of
Participation in Classroom Activities 10% 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 attend all classes, complete homework, critically read the literature,
and actively participate in the class discussions and lab exercises.
Not keeping up with or contributing to the class will result in a lower
Projects 35% 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
date. Some projects may occur during the last
week of classes.
Tests 30% 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.
Extra credit 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.
Plan to spend an average of 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour
in class 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 one another. 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.