MAT 336 History of Mathematics

Index Course description Syllabus Homework Schedule of Presentations 
Course Description 
MAT 200 or AMS 310 are prerequisites. This course will be addressed to students with substantial mathematical experience at the college level (understanding of proofs, in particular). The term papers will involve critical reading of secondary sources, with explicit reference to the primary.
The class meets twice a week for eighty minutes. In the steady state (starting in week 4) each class will include two 15minute student presentations. Each Thursday at the beginning of class there will be a 15minute quiz on the preceding week's material (lectures, reading, suggested homework and student presentations).
Each student is responsible for two term papers, (November 2, December 14). The first paper (10 pages) will be on the topic of the student's inclass presentation. The second will be a longer work (15 pages) on another topic of the student's choice. Students are required to submit their topic proposals, and detailed outlines of their papers, by deadlines listed in the syllabus.
Grades will be calculated using the following percentages:
Check the homework for the week's reading assignments and suggested exercises. These will not be collected, but similar material may turn up on next week's quiz. To guide your reading, concentrate on understanding the details of the points mentioned in class. If we skipped a certain portion of the section, especially a mathematically complicated looking portion, you can skip it too.
Criteria: Your presentations will be judged on the clarity of expression, the extent to which your presentation is well organized, the quality of information conveyed, including mathematical correctness, the extent to which you've added new information (information not already covered in class), the extent to which you've considered the important issues and are able to answer the group's questions about them, and the extent to which you've help spark new questions from other students.
Speaking in front of a group can be scary (..that's an understatement..), but the atmosphere will be supportive and encouraging. During your talk the rest of us will be working hard to understand your material. Since you're the speaker we'll be asking questions so that you can help us understand. When we ask a question you don't need to think quickly, just clearly. If some of your answers are "I didn't think about that; I'll answer it next time," that's OK. With time, you will gain experience that will enable you to respond to challenging or provocative questions on the spot.
Thanks to Dr. Chris Lott of Drew University for the above advice on presentations
Updated September 29 2006.