Math 204, Spring 2010
History of Mathematics
Syllabus
Course description: This course will examine the development of some of the most important mathematical ideas in a chronological fashion. We will be concerned with both the personalities and world events throughout time, as well as the details of the mathematics that was developed. See here for a tentative timeline and a daytoday schedule.
Instructor: Barry Balof
Office: 236 Olin Hall
Location: 246 Olin Hall Time: Monday, Wednesday, and (occasionally) Friday, 2:303:50
Textbook: A History of Mathematics, 3rd ed. by Victor Katz
Homework: Homework will be posted here . Homework will be assigned daily and collected weekly. It is recommended that you attempt all problems assigned, not just those that will be collected.
Timeline Project Throughout the semester, we will be using CLEo to build a timeline. You will be responsible for posting to the site roughly every other week (seven times per semester), and for discussing your contributions in class. More details will follow in class.
Final Class Project You will be responsible for researching and presenting on a mathematical figure of your choosing (in consultation with the professor). You and a partner will be responsible for writing a 57 page paper that gives both a biography of the individual and a description of his or her contribution to the field. You will also give a 30 minute presentation to the class on your topic.
TURNING IN HOMEWORK LATE (without prior arrangements) WILL RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIAL PENALTY. Your lowest homework score will be dropped.
Exams and Quizzes This class will have one midterm and a cumulative final. Both will be inclass exams. The midterm will be Wednesday, March 10. The final, as set by the registrar, is Tuesday, May 18, at 9 AM.
DO NOT PLAN TO LEAVE CAMPUS BEFORE THE MIDTERM OR THE FINAL. YOU WILL BE PENALIZED (EITHER BY MYSELF OR THE AIRLINES).
Grading: Grades will be assigned on a rougly 908070 scale, with grades weighted as follows.
Homework 
25% 
Midterm Examination 
15 % 
Final Examination 
25 % 
Timeline Contributions 
20 % 
Final Paper/Presentation 
15 % 
Academic Honesty: Students are allowed, and in fact, encouraged, to collaborate on homework assignments. However, the work that you turn in must be your own. No copying from any source! Exams will be closed book, closed notes, and closed colleague.
Special Needs: Any student with a disability for whom special accommodations would be helpful is encouraged to discuss this with the professor as soon as possible.
