Mathematics and Computer Science

MAT4020: History of the Development of Mathematics

Instructor: Dr. Mary J. RussellSemester:

This course is designed to familiarize students with the development of mathematics, in its historical setting, from its earliest beginnings to modern times. Because this is a mathematics course, the investigation includes a strong focus on the study of the mathematical concepts that arose. Many innovations are the result of outstanding individual mathematicians, so considerable emphasis is given to the lives of the people responsible. In addition, it is necessary to consider the social and cultural frameworks that fostered the development of the concepts and the individuals.

To provide students with an appreciation for and a better understanding of mathematical history. Primary emphasis is on the persons and cultures that influenced mathematics, with secondary emphasis on the historical concepts and on the influence that technology has had on mathematics.

• Learn the major cultures in which mathematical concepts first developed.
• Learn the different systems of numeration in the early cultures that developed mathematics.
• Learn the names of important individual mathematicians who influenced mathematics, and what their contributions were.
• Recognize the social and political framework within which the mathematical developments occurred.
• Be able to describe how the historical development of mathematics led to the division of mathematics into the specialized fields of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Course Materials
(Required) The History of Mathematics: An Introduction, 6th edition, David M. Burton, McGraw Hill 2007, ISBN-13 9780073051895.
(Optional) The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics, 3rd edition, G. G. Joseph, Princeton University Press 2011,ISBN 978-0-691-13526-7.
(Optional) The Universal History of Numbers, Georges Ifrah, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2000, ISBN 0-471-37568-3.

Grading Policy
You are expected to research and write two reports from the following categories. The second report must be chosen from a different report category from the first project on which you worked. Report categories are:
1. An ethnic group and its mathematics
2. The development of a mathematical sub-field
3. Technology: the influence of some aspect of technology on mathematics
4. A society of scholars and their contributions to the development of mathematical knowledge
5. A person and his contributions to the development of mathematical knowledge
You will be required to compile a notebook of problems related to reading assignments in order to point out the important concepts covered in the chapters. In addition, there will be written midterm and final examinations. Your letter grade will be determined by the chart shown below in the section entitled "Grade Components". Your letter grade will be the highest letter listed below whose numerical equivalent is not greater than your numerical grade.

Grade Components
First report
Second report
Class Participation
Notebook of problems
Midterm Examination
Final Examination

Final Grades
 A: 91  B+: 87  C+: 77  D+: 67  F: <59  
 A-: 89  B: 81  C: 71  D: 61      
     B-: 79  C-: 69  D-: 59      

Attendance Policy
For most students, preparing well for class and regular attendance in class, as well as paying attention during class are all necessary parts of doing well in the course. For an online course, attendance consists of participating in the discussion forums and in turning in course work in a timely manner.

Student Conduct & Honor Code
Student Conduct and Honor Code: Students are expected to act in a manner that promotes learning. The instructor will not allow disruptive behavior or rudeness in the classroom. Students are also expected to do their own work, and to refrain from helping other students to cheat. All students are expected to know and to abide by the UNCP Academic Code, which states that "Students have the responsibility to know and observe the UNCP Academic Honor Code. This code forbids cheating, plagiarism, abuse of academic materials, fabrication, or falsification of information, and complicity in academic dishonesty. Any special requirements or permission regarding academic honesty in this course will be provided to the students in writing at the beginning of the course, and are binding on the students. Academic evaluations in this course include a judgment that the student's work is free from academic dishonesty of any type; and grades in this course therefore should be and will be adversely affected by academic dishonesty. Students who violate the code can be dismissed from the University. The normal penalty for a first offense is an F in the course. Students are expected to report cases of academic dishonesty to the instructor." Cheating will not be tolerated, and any student who cheats or help another student to cheat will be punished severely.
UNCP Academic Honor Code

Other Information
Disability Support Services: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to both Disability Support Services and the instructor as early in the semester as possible, preferably within the first class week. All discussions will remain confidential. This document and other class documents are available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services Center, D. F. Lowry Building, telephone 910-521-6695.

Updated January 12, 2012 | | Copyright © 2012 The University of North Carolina at Pembroke