MATH 274, Spring 2009

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Course title: History of Mathematics
Class time: TuTh 2:00-3:15
Class location: J.M. Patterson Building, Room 1202
Textbooks: Prerequisite: MATH 140 or MATH 220

Instructor: Professor Mike Boyle (
Office: 1105 Math
Phone: 301-405-5056
Office hours: Monday 10, Friday 11, appointment
(You're welcome to drop by unannounced, but I won't always be in or free to help.)

Syllabus: Primarily, we will read most of the book of Katz. Most of the course will be organized like a reading course. There will be reading assignments and lecture/discussion. You are reponsible for keeping up with the reading in Katz and the parallel (easy) reading in Berlinghoff. There will be homework, not collected (most answers are in the text). There will be "reading exams" every two weeks or so to check up on people doing the reading and homework -- I expect it will be useful to do the homework to succeed on these. I will also ask you to write a report on a topic of interest to you, and to read a math/historical book (or approved part, if that is long and hard enough) and write a 3-5 page book report on it. You can suggest reports and books or choose from my suggestions. You can propose alternatives.

Grading: Roughly, grading will be
  • There may be some opportunities for extra credit work (! this is not an ordinary math class). If you have historical-math related reading or projects you are interested in, you can propose them for extra credit, if it is not late in the semester. I encourage you to follow your interests.

    (Don't turn it in; some questions close to or directly from homework will be part of the reading/homework exams.)
    TESTBANK: Online archive of math department exams (with answers to our exams).

    Disabilities. If you have some disability related to testing under the usual timed, in-class conditions, you may contact the office of Disabled Students Services (DSS) in Shoemaker. If they assess you as meriting private conditions and/or extra time, then you may arrange to take your tests at DSS, with extra time as they indicate. You must arrange this well in advance of a test (in particular: no retakes). Click to Disability Support Services for further information.

    The honor pledge; academic integrity; what constitutes cheating

    E-MAIL: I will send the class email with a course reflector to email addresses officially registered with the University. Students are responsible for maintaining a correct address. If your official email address is not correct, then click here to update it. If this doesn't work, just email me your email address to add manually.