MATH 401 History of Mathematics
Fall, 2011
  M W 3:30-4:50 WFB 250

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Last updated: 5-28-11   Under construction. The following description is still being developed.

Fall, 2011 COURSE INFORMATION (tentative)                                        Martin Flashman
MATH 401: History of Mathematics                                                                    M W 3:30-4:50
OFFICE: BSS  356                                                                                                     PHONE:826-4950
Office Hours (Tent.)- MTRF 10:30-12:00 AND BY APPOINTMENT or chance!
E-MAIL:                                    WWW: http:/
Catalog Description: Historical developments of key mathematical ideas and milestones: from antiquity to evolution of the calculus. Research techniques introduced. Prerequisite: lower division calculus or IC.

TEXTS:  History of Mathematics: Brief Version by Victor Katz (Addison-Wesley Longman, Inc., 2004)
The Origins of the Infinitesmal Calculus, by Margaret E. Baron (Dover, 1969-reprint at HSU Bookstore).
Classics of Mathematics, edited by Ron Calinger (Prentice Hall, 1995).

SCOPE: This course will cover some of the key developments in the history of mathematics up to the work of Newton and Leibniz and their contemporaries on calculus. In this we will consider various threads related to notation for numbers, algebra, geometry, and the nature and use of the infinite. Much of the content is relevant to the mathematics currently taught in high schools (though  current treatments are based on concepts developed by mathematicians who worked after the periods in history we will study).

Lectures will organize the topics to present materials not covered in the texts as well as those treated in the texts.  Supplementary readings and materials will be supplied as appropriate. Summaries of lectures may be available through the course webpage.

TECHNOLOGY: We may use the computer at various stages of this course to illustrate and investigate some of the mathematics from a more modern perspective. We will also be making use of materials found through the world wide web.

ASSIGNMENTS: There will be two quizzes covering some of the mathematics covered in assignments.

Reading Assignment: Each student will be expected to read a short article / note / or web page about the history of mathematics and make brief written summaries/reports of these to be passed on alternate Mondays, beginning date TBA. [These will be graded Honors(4)/Good(3)/Acceptable(2)/NCr(0). Be sure to include an appropriate citation.]

Weekly assignments will be due on Wednesdays. (Accepted one day tardy at most!) [These will be graded on a problem by problem basis.]
Some problems may be assigned but not numerically graded.

Cooperative Assignment: Teams will be formed to work cooperatively on making a presentation on Tuesday, DATE TBA, on a notation for numbers other than the current decimal system.

FINAL ASSESSMENT / TERM PAPER: Each student will be expected to write a history of mathematics (term) paper based on a "primary" source. Guidelines and advice will be distributed separately. Each student will be expected to make a short (no more10 minutes) presentation of the term paper during the time allotted for the final examnation in the university examination schedule.

GRADES:  Grades will be determined primarily **based on the points you receive from your participation in the various course activities.

Reading Assignment   50 points
Weekly Assignments 150 points
Quizzes (2 * 50 points/quiz)
100 points
Coop Assignment   50 points
Term paper and Presentation
150 points
TOTAL 500 points

** Active class participation will be considered in deciding individual grades after a general grade range has been assigned.
FINAL GRADES: Though final grades for the course are subject to my discretion, I will use the following overall percentages based on the total number of points for your work to determine the broader range of grades for the course.   
  85-100% ;   70- 84% ;  C  60- 69% ;  D  50- 59%  ;  F   0- 49%

 Students with Disabilities: Persons who wish to request disability-related accommodations should contact the Student Disability Resource Center in House 71, 826-4678 (voice) or 826-5392 (TDD). Some accommodations may take up to several weeks to arrange.

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