MATH 480 History of Mathematics
1996 SYLLABUS (Tentative)

Objectives: To develop within the students an understanding of the chronological development of mathematics. To introduce them to some of the principal contributors to mathematics. To allow them to investigate topics in mathematics not provided elsewhere in the mathematics curriculum. To assist them in developing writing skills related to the field of mathematics.

Prerequisite: MATH 441 or consent of the Department Chair.

Textbooks: "An Introduction to the History of Mathematics," by Howard Eves; Saunders Publishing Company, 1990.

Topics: approximately one week each

Classwork/Homework-------------15% - 25%
Tests and Final Exam-------------- 50% - 70%
One term project------------------ 15% - 25%

MATH/lsa 8/96

Class Policy Math 480 Fall 1996

Instructor: Dr. K.M. Shannon
Office: PP 105
Phone: 543-6476
Home Phone: 860-5080 p.m. only, please
E-MAIL: or

ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY!! EXCESSIVE ABSENCES WILL RESULT IN FAILURE. Students are required to find out about any assignment, announcements and material missed through tardiness or absence. I realize that on rare occasions absence and/or tardiness is unavoidable, see me after class or call me on these occasions. Students will not be excused from homework because of absence. If a student misses a test or a presentation for a legitimate cause, I will work out a fair arrangement on an individual basis. I do not, in general, give make up tests, but rather look at the final exam with the material from the missed test in mind.

Grades: Final Grades will be constructed from three components: Test(s) and a final ( 50%); A course project ( 25%); and Homework( 25%).

Homework: Each student will be assigned one historical section on which to present and/or lead the class discussion. Each discussion should take approximately 1/2 of one class period. In addition to this there will be regular assignments to turn in which will be graded on a ten point scale and problems will be assigned for students to present in class. Your homework grade will consist of approximately 1/3 the historical presentation, 1/3 written work and 1/3 in-class problem presentations.

Office Hours: T,R 11-11:50 and 8:15-8:45 pm and M 5:15 - 7pm. However, I am in my office much more often than this, call, stop by, or make an appointment. In a class of this character I expect to see you all outside of class! (My class schedule is posted outside my office and should give you clues about other times I am probably available.) There are answering machines on both phones and I do not object to calls about homework or problems (grade inquiries should be made in person) at home at reasonable (avoid a.m.) times.

First Assignment: send me an e-mail with your name, the name of this course and the reason you are taking it. I expect to receive e-mail from every student by this Friday. Feel free to continue to use this method of communicating with me in addition to visits to my office, special problems & discussions in, before & after class.

Course Project Assignment

Description: Pick an historical topic related to mathematics and research it. This topic could be an individual or the development of a branch of mathematics or a set of ideas. The topic MUST BE APPROVED BY THE INSTRUCTOR. Do the same type of research you would expect to do in order to write a 5 - 10 page paper. However, instead of presenting your ideas/results in paper form you will present them as a poster.

What is "a poster?": essentially a poster is a two dimensional display. For the purposes of this assignment, posters will be mounted on 4'x4' sheets of foam core available at the bookstore or at Staples. Poster displays can consist of text, graphics, and pictures. For examples of posters look around the department and the School of science for posters presented at the Symposium last spring. In addition there is a poster which Dr. Hetzler presented on one of the bulletin boards outside PP108 and a Poster which I presented outside my office. Feel free to ask me for additional ideas about poster presentations. The poster you construct for this class should be composed so that faculty and students would understand it and be interested in it. Secondary education majors may want to be thinking in terms of bulletin board displays for future classrooms that would intrigue and impress students parents other faculty and administrators.

Deadlines: Topic Must be approved by 10-16. Projects are Due on 12-4 in Nanticoke A/B. There will be a poster session for both sections of MATH 480 at this time.