Mathematics Pre-May Seminar

Math 250, Spring 2015

Mondays 7-10 PM, Ivers 218

Douglas Anderson, Ph.D.
Ivers 234D

Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 11-4; other times by discovery.

Course Objectives: Mathematics 250 is required for students going on the 2015 Math May Seminar, Math 300G. The primary aim of this course is to prepare ourselves as carefully and completely as possible to see and understand the relevance of mathematics and its role in Western society when we travel abroad. This will include examining the historical and cultural background of the sites we visit, exploring the scientific and religious worldview of the cultures that produced the sites, and the ways in which they influence us today. We will answer the question, "Where is the mathematics?" from simple currency and modular clock arithmetic to the use of geometry in art, group theory in design, and statistics in government. We all must feel obligated to contribute to the discussion of issues; open disagreement is welcome. Each student researches two mathematics topics from the history of mathematics and presents a 15-20 minute oral presentation on each. Additionally, students will form research groups by country to serve as itinerary elaborators and guides. A class travel book will be printed for everyone, consisting of papers, maps, diagrams, and outlines explaining the history, architecture, layout, and so on of the sites we will visit in May.

Student Learner Outcomes:
1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the historical significance of the sites on the seminar through delivery and evaluation of country presentations.
2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of mathematics history related to our trip through problem solving and mathematical exercises.
3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the role of mathematics in western culture through written responses to the readings, via class discussion, and through the keeping of a mathematics journal.

Mathematics In Western Culture by Morris Kline
Elementary Number Theory by Underwood Dudley
Number Theory: A Historical Approach by John J. Watkins
Math Through The Ages by William P. Berlinghoff and Fernando Q. Gouvea
Mathematical Excursions To The World's Greatest Buildings by Alexander J. Hahn
3 Presentations: 2 on Math History, 1 Country Report 20%
Math-related Problems & Exercises 60%
Written Assignments, Evaluations 10%
Math Journal 5%
Participation in Class Discussions, Attendance 5%

Note for 2-credit students: Students taking Math 250 Pre-May Seminar for 2 credits will do 2 presentations instead of 3 (1 Math History, 1 Country), all presentation evaluations, half of the mathematics problems and exercises, and half of the written assignments related to Kline and other readings. You are expected to attend 2 hours of class time.

Related Sites:
Concordia Math's Trip Itinerary: Daily (tentative) schedule for May 2015
Concordia Math May Seminar Links: Sites ranging from readings to weather
Concordia Math May Sem Homepage: Full menu of links
Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols, maintained by Jeff Miller, based on A History of Mathematical Notations by Florian Cajori.
Earliest Known Uses of some of the Words of Mathematics, also maintained by Jeff Miller.
The MacTutor History of Mathematics, Archive.
The History of Mathematics maintained by David R. Wilkins.
The Math Forum @ Drexel.
The Cayley Quilt Maker: Math Art Posters.
Listen to Fourier Series.
Dauben's The Art of Renaissance Science.

Written Assignments will include answering in writing 4 questions related to the Kline readings and handouts each week, and a written site/country report for our seminar travel book. This should be formatted as a two-column landscape Word document.

In the following weekly schedule, the Sketches of mathematical discovery are from Math Through the Ages.

January 12 Introductions; Mind Reader; Secrets of the Parthenon.
Read Kline I-III (3-39).
January 19 MLK, Jr. Plenary; Integer Factorization; Number Theory 1
Read Kline IV-VI (40-88).
January 26 Integers; Archimedes-Infinite Secrets
Read Kline VII-IX (89-125).
February 2 Sketch 3--Kim, Sketch 7--Shaylan; Unique Factorization; Ancient Computer.
Read Kline X-XI (126-158), Schliemann and Islam, Michelangelo biography.
February 9 Why 'x' is Unknown; Linear Diophantine Equations; Colosseum: Roman Death Trap.
Read Kline XII-XIII (159-195); Delphi.
February 16 Sketch 10--Erik; Congruences. Stonehenge.
Read Galileo packet, write 1.5-2 page response.
March 2 Galileo; Linear Congruences.
Read Kline XIV-XV (196-233).
March 9 Sketch 15--Kyle, Sketch 17--Alex; Fermat's and Wilson's Theorems; Building the Great Cathedrals.
Read Kline XVI-XVIII (234-286).
March 16 Divisors of Integers; Mystery of the Duomo.
Read Kline XIX-XXI (287-339).
March 23 Sketch 21--Erik, Sketch 22--Shaylan; Perfect Numbers; Eiffel Tower.
Read Kline XXII-XXIII (340-375).
March 30 Sketch 25--Meghan; Sketch 26--Peter; Pythagorean Triples; Plimpton 322
Read Kline XXV-XXVII (395-452).
April 13 Sketch 27--Kyle; Fibonacci Numbers I; Lost at Sea.
Do Harry Potter story.
April 20 Fibonacci Numbers II; Rise of the Hackers.
April 27 Country Presentations: Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Paris, and London; Fermat's Last Theorem.
Student photo journal management.
Research 2005 Book
May Seminar Blog 2013 Blog site      Egypt      Greece      Italy/Swiss      Paris/London
Videos Online Secrets of Lost Empires (PBS-NOVA): 7 Wonders of Rome; Roman Bath.
Other videos Colosseum (National Geographic); Martin Luther (PBS); Ancient Athens

  • Douglas Anderson's home page.
  • Mathematics home page.
  • Concordia College home page.

  • Last modified: April 19, 2015