Math 420 B
Advanced Topics: History of Modern Mathematics
last modified: 2/2/2011
- MWF 11:00 - 11:50, Thompson 383
- Wednesday, May 11, noon - 2:00. 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 papers schedule
Syllabus for this course.
Hstory Of Science Group
- Burton, David M.: The History of
Mathematics, Seventh edition McGraw-Hill 2011
- 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)
- 2:00 - 2:50 TThF
- 10:00 - 10:50 Wednesday
- 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 scheduled 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
- Four extended essays. These will be papers responding to a topic
specified 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. Each of the
extended essays will have the weight of one unit in your course evaluation.
- 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)
+ four extended essays (100 pts. each) + final term paper (200 pts.)) / 7.
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 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.
- We will use Moodle for PDF
files of lectures. Moodle will only be used to store these PDF files.
Assignments and other communications will be through these web pages and
- No class work (except for the final paper) will be accepted after the last day of class (Wednesday,
- A note on withdrawal dates:
(copied from the
- Withdrawal without record on the academic transcript is permissible
through the first two weeks of the fall and spring semesters when a student
completes official withdrawal procedures.
- Withdrawal Passing (W) is granted during the third through sixth
weeks of the fall and spring semesters when a student completes official
- After the sixth week of the semester, Withdrawal Failing
(WF) is given except as noted below.
- During the
seventh through twelfth weeks of the fall and spring
semesters, a grade of W may be granted by the instructor
only if all of the following conditions are met:
- (1) a
student completes official withdrawal procedures and
there have been exceptional circumstances beyond the
student's control, in which case the student must
demonstrate in writing to the satisfaction of the
instructor that exceptional circumstances exist, and
either the student's work has been of passing quality or
the exceptional circumstances have prevented the student
from completing work of passing quality. An instructor
may assign a W grade using the Faculty Withdrawal Grade
Submission Form available from the Office of the
- After the twelfth week of classes, the Academic
Standards Committee may permit a grade of W to be
assigned. The student must withdraw from the course and
submit a petition to support a claim of exceptional
circumstances. The petition must include a statement by
the course instructor on the quality of the student's
work in the course. If the petition is approved, a grade
of W is assigned. If the petition is denied, a grade of
WF is assigned.