Professor: Jeff Johannes
Section 1 MF
3:30-4:45p Welles 121
Office Hours: Monday 5-6p Fraser 116, Tuesday 8-9p South
336, Wednesday 2-3p Fraser 104, Thursday 4-5p Fraser 116, Friday
12-1p Fraser 116, and by appointment or visit.
Email Address: Johannes@Geneseo.edu
Historical Context, Jeff Suzuki (the
first two chapters are available at this link) The
entire electronic copy is available at this link.
The first main goal of this course is to connect
the mathematics you have learned (and some you haven't) with the
history you have learned (and some you haven't). The second
main goal is to connect the mathematics you have learned together.
Upon successful completion of MATH 390 - History
of Mathematics, a student will be able to:
- Trace the development and interrelation of topics in
mathematics up to the undergraduate level,
- Discuss mathematics in historical context with contemporary
- Analyze historical mathematical documents - interpret both the
concepts of the text and the methods of mathematics, and
- Identify significant contributions in mathematics from women
and from outside of Europe.
Your grade in this course will be based on four
main components. One-fifth each will be determined by daily
reading and lecture reactions and by a midterm essay exam.
Three-tenths each will be determined by a research paper in history
and mathematics and by a final essay exam.
There will be two lectures a week. I
will begin with comments addressing your reactions submitted the
night before called "quick answers". I cannot promise to
address all of them, but I will try to include the recurring
questions and more interesting comments. Most of
lecture-time will be spent elaborating on the mathematics that is
discussed in the textbook. The mathematical content in the
book is light and lectures will expand on that content filling in
the mathematical details. You are responsible for both the
content of the lectures and the reading. They are not the
same material twice.
Reading and Lecture Reactions
This book is much
more a history book than a mathematics book. It reads like
"what mathematics was going on during all the history I learned
about in humanities?" The book begins at the dawn of human
mathematics and runs through the second world war. You have
reading assignments for each class day, roughly ranging from 10 to
20 pages. Our entire reading will come from our book, and we
will complete the entire book by the end of the course. By
the end of Thursdays and Sundays (with two exceptions - midterm
day and the final day) you are required to submit reading
reactions before class. These reading reactions must include
reactions to at least five topics in the reading. 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. As part of your submission the
day before, you will also submit lecture reactions. Again
there will be comments on five topics from the preceding
lecture. At most one of these comments may be on the opening
discussion of prior feedback. I don't want to get stuck on
old material. Here are some sample
reading and lecture reactions from prior years.
drop your lowest reaction score. If you don't complete the
assignment due on 26 January, then you will use it for that
one. Think of it this way - by doing something before our
first class you earn a pass for later in the semester.
Students will earn one extra midterm point by
visiting office hours during the first two weeks of classes, i.e.
no later than 13 February.
There will be a midterm
and a final exam. Both will be essay exams and involve
analysis of the mathematical and historical content of our
investigation. Both will be typed in person in class and
submitted via canvas. The final will naturally be more
lengthy. Both will include a variety of questions and allow
for some choice of which questions to answer. More details
will be provided as we approach the exams.
You will write a 1200-2000 word research paper on
a topic in the history of mathemaitcs. Papers will be graded
in three main aspects: writing, historical content, and
mathematical content. Stories about mathematicians will not
suffice as mathematical content, and a date and name will not
suffice for historical content. The final paper will be
a substantial research paper on a topic not covered in
class. Selecting the topic by the deadline will be worth
5%, the annotated bibliography will be
worth 20%, the draft will be worth 30%,
and the final paper will be worth 45%. For those seeking a
teaching certification, the topic must be from the standards
at their level of anticipated certification. For those who are
not, the topic must be from a post-secondary class they have already
(or are currently) taken. The topic should be a topic of no
more than a week at either level (one point in standards would be
typical). Due dates are indicated in the schedule
below. Those wishing to satisfy oral research requirement may
present their research paper during a GREAT day math.
history session. If you wish to satisfy the presentation
requirement you must indicate so when submitting your topic.
I have created a web-site
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
feedback. Of course, you are always welcome to approach
me outside of class to discuss these issues as well.
Occasionally I will ask you to give feedback about particular
details in the course using this website.
SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations
for persons with documented physical, emotional or learning
disabilities. Students should consult with the Director in the
Office of Disability Services (105D Erwin) and their individual
faculty regarding any needed accommodations as early as possible in
It is my 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 February 10 of plans to observe the holiday.
Federal and New York State law requires
institutions of higher education to provide an excused leave of
absence from classes without penalty to students enrolled in the
National Guard or armed forces reserves who are called to active
duty. If you are called to active military duty and need to miss
classes, please let me know and consult as soon as possible with the
Dean of Students.
Schedule (subject to change)
January 27 Course Introduction, 1.1 and 1.2.1
January 30 1.2 and 1.3
February 3 2.1
February 6 2.2
February 10 3.1 Research
Project Topic Due
February 13 3.2 and 3.3
February 17 4.1 and 4.2
February 20 4.3 and 4.4
February 24 5.1
February 27 5.2
March 3 5.3
March 6 6.1
March 10 6.2 Annotated Bibliography due
March 20 7.1
March 24 Midterm - Chapters 1-6
March 27 7.2
March 31 7.3
April 3 8.1
April 7 8.2
April 10 8.3 Research Paper Draft due
April 14 9.1 and 9.2
April 17 9.3 and 9.4
April 21 10.1
April 24 10.2
April 26 GREAT Day
April 28 11.1 and 11.2
May 1 11.3
May 5 11.4 and Epilog
May 8 review Final research paper due
May 12 Final XM 3:30-6:00p