Module Identifier | MA30910 | ||

Module Title | HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS | ||

Academic Year | 2001/2002 | ||

Co-ordinator | Dr C Fletcher | ||

Semester | Intended for use in future years (Taught over 2 semesters) | ||

Next year offered | N/A | ||

Next semester offered | N/A | ||

Pre-Requisite | MA11010 or MA11110 | ||

Course delivery | Lecture | 19 Hours | |

Tutorial | 3 Hours | ||

Assessment | Presentation | 10 minute talk | 10% |

Essay | 2,000 - 3,000 word essay | 40% | |

Exam | 1.5 Hours | 50% | |

Resit assessment | Students who fail this module and wish to be reassessed, will be required to sit a 2 hour written examination. This will form the whole of the assessment. | |

The syllabus for this course changes year by year, sometimes at short notice, but it shall contain the following:

1. SOME ASPECTS OF GREEK MATHEMATICS: Usually based on Euclid's Elements and one of the works of Archimedes.

2. FRENCH MATHEMATICS OF THE 17TH CENTURY: In particular the work of Pierre de Fermat

3. BRITISH AND IRISH ALGEBRAISTS OF THE 19TH CENTURY: eg George Boole, Arthur Cayley, William Rowan Hamilton and James Joseph Sylvester.

A student who successfully completes the course should:

- be familiar with source and reference material in the UWA libraries;
- have developed a critical facility with regard to this material;
- understand the way certain parts of mathematics have progressed;
- ba able to write a constructive essay on the history of mathematics;
- have produced a substantial project essay on a designated topic;
- have given a short talk to the class on this project essay.

The study of the history of mathematics has an intrinsic appeal of its own, yet its chief raison d'etre is the illumination of mathematics itself. Mathematics is more than 3000 years old and the study of its history is an important component in the teaching of the subject. In this course the object will be to examine original material, because it is only in this way that one can enter into the spirit of past ages, to understand the triumphs and the stumbling blocks. The scope for this is necessarily limited both by time and by source material, but the exercise is valuable for all mathematicians, especially perhaps for those who contemplate taking up a teaching career.

To introduce students to a selection of original mathematical sources.

G Boole.

C Boyer.

Euclid.

H Eves.

J Fauvel & J J Gray.

P de Fermat.

W R Hamilton.

T L Heath.

B L van der Waerden.