Interdisciplinary 101: Does
Really Know What Time, Day, Month or Year It Is?
Section 2 T
12:45-1:30p Fraser 104
Blake C 8 x5735
Monday 1:30 - 2:30p
Monday 10:30 - 12:30p
Wednesday 10:30 - 12:30p
Thursday 12:45 - 2:30p
Friday 1:30 - 2:30p
Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect
Calendar, Duncan Steel (paperback, hardback and also available
as an e-book)
In this course we would
like to learn a bit about the following:
Furthermore, we hope to do that in the most comfortable and relaxed
- Each other
Our current calendar has influences from a wide
variety of cultures including (at least) the Egyptians, Babylonians,
Hebrews, Norse, and Romans. There are also astronomical realities
about the sun-earth-moon orbits that must be considered. In this
seminar we will discuss some of the following questions: Why do
we have twelve months? Why do they have different numbers of
days? Why are the months Sept-ember, Octo-ber, Nov-ember, and
Dec-ember not the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months? Why
are there 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour? Why do we
need leap years? Why wasn't 1900 a leap year, but 2000 was?
Why do our calendars change every year? Do they need to?
Aside from our current calendar we will consider various historical and
non-Western calendars including the Mayan and Islamic, as well as the
French and Soviet revolutionary calendars. We will also explore a
few proposed alternatives to our calendar and explore cases where, for
cultural reasons, the mathematically best calendar has not been
Aside from all that, we will begin each class by
any thoughts and reactions to your first-year experiences at Geneseo.
Nothing we read in this class will be a
traditional mathematics or history book. The course will be much
around reading and discussion. There should be all sorts of
from the reading . . topics to discuss, reactions to stories, questions
the mathematical content, etc. Each day
are required to bring reading reactions to class. These reading
reactions must include reactions to at least five topics in the
They must be written in intelligible English. Each one will
be evaluated out of 5 points, with points deducted for fewer than five
points being addressed.
Since most of the class is discussion, deriving
the same benefits by merely examining someone's class notes or reading
textbook would be impossible. If you are present for a discussion
you will receive one participation point that day. If you also
to the class as a whole (answer a question, present a solution, ask an
insightful question or offer important relevant commentary - even
sharing about your first-year experience) you will
two participation points for that day. Present each day and never
speaking in class will earn 80%. Speaking every other day will
95%. Scores between will be scaled linearly.
Your grade in this course will be strictly
the average between your reading reaction score and your participation
Note: 101 courses are very special. You
drop at any time with no consequence. So, if nothing else, please
around and come visit us.
Occasionally you will be given
anonymous feedback forms. Please use them to share any thoughts
or concerns for how the course is running. Remember, the sooner
you tell me your concerns, the more we can do about them. We have
also created a web-site
which accepts anonymous comments.
If we have not yet discussed this in class, please encourage me to
create a class code. This site may also be accessed via our course
page on a link entitled anonymous
course, you are always welcome to approach me outside of class to
discuss these issues as well.
It is our policy to give students who miss class
because of observance of religious holidays the opportunity to make up
missed work. You are responsible for notifying me no later than
September 11 of plans to observe the holiday.
There are lots of gaps here. On September 4,
after students have read Chapters 1-2, we will discuss what other
chapters to read. At that point we will be able to plan our
semester more fully.
September 4 Chapters 1 - 2
September 11 Chapter 3
September 18 Chapter 4
September 25 Chapter 6
October 16 Chapter 12
October 23 Chapter 17
October 30 Chapter 19
November 6 Chapter 20
around November 13 visit to George
Eastman House and University of Rochester library.
November 20 Chapter 22
November 27 Chapter 23
December 4 Wrap up