Math 420 A
Advanced Topics: History of Modern Mathematics
- MWF 3:00 - 3:50, Thompson 381
- Monday, May 12, 4:00 - 6:00. We will not have a final exam in this
class (actually, we will not have exams in this class). The final exam
period will be used for turning in the term paper.
Math 420 lecture and exam schedule
The academic calendar for this year.
Syllabus for this course.
- Burton, David M.: The History of
Mathematics, McGraw-Hill 2005
- Struik, Dirk J.: A Concise History of Mathematics, Dover
- Other readings as assigned.
- A particularly
useful resource is
MacTutor History of Mathematics web page at the University of St.
- Bob Matthews
- Office: Thompson 390E
- Extension 3561
- My schedule
- Office hours (tentative)
- 11:00 - 11:50 MTThF
- Or by appointment.
- If you catch me free at any time, please feel free to drop
in. Messages sent via email are welcome, and can be used to ask
a question or to set up an appointment.
- Email messages
are welcome, and can
be used to ask a question or to set up an appointment. My schedule is posted
Hours marked 'O. H.' are office hours, and hours marked 'open' on my schedule
may be available for appointments
(to be made in advance), but are not office hours and I may not be in my
office during 'open' hours unless I have set up an appointment with you.
If none of the office hours work out for you, please send me
Mode of instruction:
- Homework will be assigned frequently (probably weekly), and homework assignments will be due
at least two regular class periods following the assignment (leaving a day
before an assignment is due to discuss any questions or problems).
From each homework set I will select several problems to grade.
Questions on any problems, assigned or not, are, of course, welcome.
The cumulative weight of the homework will be one unit of your course
- Three extended essays. These will be papers responding to a topic
specified at least three weeks before the due date of the paper. I will
either specify a single topic, or give you a choice of topics from which you
may pick one to respond to. Each extended essay will develop an idea
from the course discussion so far, will include appropriate citations and
the use of sources beyond the textbooks and the web, and will be graded in
part on the quality of writing and clarity of expression.
- A term paper, having the weight of two units. This will
be a final paper to be turned in by the date and time given for the
final exam. There will not be a final exam in this class.
- Your final grade will then be (cumulative homework (adjusted to 100 pts)
+ three extended essays (100 pts. each) + final term paper (200 pts.)) / 6.
More details on the extended essays and the term paper
can be found here.
- I will make every effort to return homework and extended essays no later
than a week from the time they are turned in. That is, papers turned in on
a Wednesday should be returned no later than the following Wednesday.
- Math 420 is a special topics course. These courses are used to
explore a topic not currently in the Mathematics curriculum at Puget Sound.
In some cases (and, in particular, this case) a special topics course is
used to try out and evaluate a course for possible inclusion in the
Department's regular course offerings and in the University Bulletin.
What this means for us is that the schedule of topics is likely to be more
fluid for this course this semester than it is for more established courses.
Please expect that to happen. However, the schedule of extended
essays, the ways in which student work is evaluated and a final grade
computed, and the other more mechanical parts of the course are intended to
remain as described in this document. Please keep track of the links
below to the this week / next week / previous weeks pages which describe in
more detail what we will be doing for the next two weeks and what we have
done in the past.