The course grade depends on two essay tests, a book review, a term
paper, and weekly class discussions via internet. The weight of each is:
The tests will consist of five identifications and two short essays. Students will have two days to complete the test and return it to me by Internet. They will be put online on March 8 and May 3. A book for review and the topic for the term paper must be selected by February 11. The book review will be due on March 24 and the first draft of the term paper on April 7. The drafts of the term papers will be returned with comments the next week and students will have three weeks to prepare their final version. Class discussions will include three to five questions posed by me about the assigned course readings. They will address the general history of mathematics, while centering on the lives and work of eminent mathematicians in the assigned readings. Each week discussions will focus on one life and one crucial mathematical concept, problem, or technique. These specific topics will be announced the previous week. Students will respond to each of the questions in a short paragraph and will send me two or three other questions.
Students are encouraged to consult the journals Historia Mathematica, Isis, Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Osiris, and the Mathematical Intelligencer. It also may be helpful to consult C. C. Gillispies Dictionary of Scientific Biography (18 vols.) and Ivor Grattan-Guinnesss Companion Encyclopedia of the History and Philosophy of Mathematics (1993). Moreover, there will be recommended, supplemental readings each week on the syllabus. These are not required for the course, but will give further information and may be the source for selecting a book for review or a starting point for research on a term paper topic.