MATH 4/7603853-WAC

An Introduction to the History of Mathematics


Instructor:      Dr. A. Boumenir

Location:         Monday, Wednesday 5:30-8:00, Boyd 301

Office:                         Boyd 321

Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 8:00-12:00 or by appointment    

Phone:             678-839-4131


Text:               The saga of mathematics, by Lewinter and Widulski, Prentice Hall, 2002.

Objective:       This course is an introduction to the history of Mathematics and its development from prehistoric times through the late nineteenth century/early twentieth century. Emphasis is given to the Problem solving  aspect of Mathematics and then to its history which includes  key people, famous problems, cultural influences and contemporary mathematics.


Learning Outcome:


  1. The student will state how the development of mathematics was influenced by society and environment during various historical eras. (L4, L3, L14, L5)
  2. The student will learn about the various strategies in problem solving  through the ages (L1, L2, L3)
  3. The student will state how mathematics helped shape the society of various eras. (L4, L5, L14, L15)
  4. The student will discuss how various subject fields of mathematics (including but not limited to: Algebra, Calculus, and Geometry) became areas of interest, why they were of interest, and who where the early leaders in the study of those particular fields. (L4, L5, L14, L15)
  5. The student will use methods of specified historical eras and/or societies (e.g., the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Pythagoreans) in solving problems posed within each society. (L4, L5, L14, L15)
  6. The student will discuss how the famous and/or infamous individuals in mathematics influenced the search and development of new mathematics. (L4, L5, L14, L15)
  7. The student will be able to write facts, arguments, and/or questions about mathematics using correct grammatical style for both the English and mathematical text. (L4, L5, L14, L15)



TESTS:  There will be two exams on  September 22nd and November 17th.  Each will count

100 points towards your final grade.



FINAL:  The final is comprehensive and will be  on Thursday December 15th at 5:00-7:00 and counts 200 pts.


HOMEWORK:  Homework /quiz (WTL) will be assigned each week.  Each assignment is worth 20 points



You must write a 5-7 page paper on a Problem and explain how its solution evolved with time. There are some ideas for topics in the text.  You may also consult with me for topics.  The deadlines for the various drafts are as follows:


            TOPIC (10 points):                            Thursday, September             22nd      

            FIRST DRAFT (15 points):               Thursday, October     6th

            SECOND DRAFT (25 points):           Thursday, October     20th

            FINAL DRAFT (50 points):               Thursday, November              17th

            PRESENTATION                              Thursday December     1st









I will correct and grade the drafts for mathematical accuracy and major grammatical problems.  The final draft should be free from any grammatical errors, which is your responsibility. 

10-12                              Quizzes/Homework    (WTL exercises)

2                                            75-minute tests during class periods.

1                      5-7 page paper to be presented

1                                             Comprehensive Final


The tests and final will include problems that use the methodology of the various eras studied, questions involving time lines, and essay questions that ask how the political, cultural, religious, and economical situations affected the Mathematics of the times and vice versa. (WTL exercises).

The presentation is part of the paper and judged on coherence and clarity of presentation as well as originality of topic. The write-up (a WTL exercise) will be 0-100 points and graded on clarity of style, grammar, and spelling.  References are required.  Hand written write-ups are not acceptable.  A hard copy or an e-copy using MS-Word or a mutually acceptable word-processing file is expected.


Paper 5-7 pages in length (Illustrations and graphs not to be included in the page count) (WTC exercise).

The paper should be typed or printed.  The text should be double spaced and using a 12pt font.  Topics may be about people, problems, schools or controversies in mathematics and must have the instructors consent.  The bibliography must include books, journal articles and Web addresses.


IMPORTANT: The paper must include at least one mathematical result with its proof and will be presented to class at the end of the semester.


The course grade is based on these 5 parts as follows:


GRADES:  Your grade will be determined based on the following formula


            TEST                           200 points                               POINTS          GRADE

            PAPER                        100 points                               630-700           A

            FINAL                                    200 points                               560-630           B

            HOMEWORK                        100 points                               490-560           C

            Quizzes                       100 points                               420-490           D

                                                                                                    0-420           F

TOTAL                       700 points