Main goals: During this course, we will study about ideas and people who were among the most important for the development of the different branches of mathematics. A major goal will be to stimulate further interest in learning about some of these branches and about the life and work of notable people in the subject.

Office Hours: Friday, 3:40pm - 5pm via Zoom (write me an email some time before 3:40pm and I will send you a Zoom link)

Week | Topic | Sources | Presentation |
---|---|---|---|

1 | Map of mathematics. Timeline of important math events and people. General questions about math. | [4], [5, Part I, VIII.7] | PDF file |

2 | Math in Egypt, Babylon and ancient China. Egyptian fractions and the Chinese Reminder Theorem. | [1], [3], [4] | PDF file |

3 | Big names: Math of Ancient Greece and Hindu-Arabic math. | [2], [3], [5] | PDF file |

4 | More math from Ancient Greece: The problems of Diophantus and the paradoxes of Zeno. | [1], [3], [5] | PDF file |

5 | Cardano and the solution of the cubic. | [2], this Quanta article | PDF file |

6 | The development of Calculus. John Wallis and the Newton-Leibniz rivalry. | [1], [4], The book of A. Alexander | PDF file |

7 | Presentations of the topic papers (i.e., the midterm exam). | ||

8 | Presentations of the topic papers (i.e., the midterm exam). | ||

9 | Some results of Euler and Gauss. | [2], [4] | PDF file |

10 | The development of Probability and Statistics: The correspondence between Pascal and Fermat. | The book of K. Devlin, Wiki link 1, Wiki link 2 |
PDF file |

11 | The seven giants of statistics and some main theorems: LLN, CLT, the method of least squares. | Article 1 , Article 2 | PDF file |

12 | The development of Algebra. | [1] | PDF file |

13 | The development of Combinatorics and Algorithms. | [1], [6] | PDF file |

14 | Walk through math events in the 19th and 20th: Hilbert’s problems, Cantor and Godel. Big proofs and famous conjectures. | [5] | |

15 | Presentations of the biographical papers (i.e., the final exam) |

Bibliography:

- „A history of mathematics“, C. Boyer, U. Merzbach.
- „Journey through genius, The great theorems of mathematics“, W. Dunham.
- „A Concise History of Mathematics: Fourth Revised Edition“, D. Struik.
- „The Mathematical Experience“, P. Davis, R. Hersh.
- „The Princeton Companion of Mathematics“, T. Gowers.
- "History of mathematics: An introduction", V. Katz, 2nd edition

[35%] **Topic paper** on the historical development of a mathematical field or on another topic related to history of mathematics.

Go to this link and select a topic from the list there. You can also suggest your own topic (more details in the link itself).
I advise you to select your topic by the end of the 3rd week of classes. Each student will present his paper during week 7. The due date to submit the paper is the end of week 7 (Sunday, 11:59pm). The paper must be between 4 and 5 pages excluding bibliography (font 11, don't use huge or tiny margins).
A good paper should discuss in details some mathematical results and explain them in accessible form to the reader. The evaluation criteria include: quality of the content and the included information, the quality of the mathematical explanation, writing style and clarity.

[25%] **Biographical paper** on the life and work of a famous mathematician.

Go to this link and select one name of a mathematician for your biographical paper from the list there. You can also suggest a name not in the list (more details in the link itself).
I advise you to select your mathematician by the end of the 8th week of classes. Each student will present his biographical paper during week 15 (the last week). The due date to submit your biographical paper is the end of week 14 (Sunday, 11:59pm). The biographical papers must be between 2 and 3 pages excluding bibliography (font 11, don't use huge or tiny margins).
A good biographical paper should discuss one of the mathematical results of the person the paper is about. The evaluation criteria include: quality of the content and the included information, how much math is explained and how well, writing style and clarity.

[25%] **Homework** on mathematical problems.

This will be a written homework over some problems related to the mathematics discussed during lectures. The due date to submit your homework is the end of week 13 (Sunday, 11:59pm).

[15%] **Weekly quizes.**

Every week (except in weeks 1,7 and 15), a short 10-minutes quiz will be given, at the end of our first class for the week (i.e., the Monday section). Your 10 best quizzes will be part of your final grade.

- This is the official site of the course. Except for announcements, the Canvas page will be used from me only to enter grades and from the students only to see their grades.
- Keep in mind the due dates for the Topic paper (Week 7, Sunday 11:59pm, i.e., October 22, 11:59pm), the Homework (Week 13, Sunday 11:59pm, i.e., December 3, 11:59pm) and the Biographical papers (Week 14, Sunday 11:59pm, i.e., December 10, 11:59pm). Instructions how to submit the papers and the Homework will be given in class.
- Attendance is not mandatory. However, if you miss a class, you will have 0 points on the quiz given at the end. You will not be allowed to do makeup quizzes later.
- Contact me via email if you have any questions or objections to any of your grades.
- I expect a respectful behaviour during our classes. Cell phones should not necessarily be turned off, but they can be used only by exclusion.
- Plagiarism and cheating in any form is strongly prohibited, when working on your Topic and Biographical papers, as well as on your quizzes! All students in the course are expected to be familiar with and abide by the academic integrity policy
- Rutgers is fully committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; policies and procedures are indicated at http://ods.rutgers.edu. Students who wish to request special accommodations must present a Letter of Accommodations to the instructor as early in the terms as possible. .