Math 4853-01W*


An Introduction to the History of Mathematics


Mondays 5:30 pm to 8 pm

Boyd 305


Instructor: Anthony J. Giovannitti

Office: Boyd 325

Phone: 770-838-2579

FAX: 770-836-6890



Office Hours: MWF 8:30 am to 10 am and 11 am to 12 pm
M 4 pm to 5:30 pm
Tues. 9 am to 9:30 am and 11 am to 11:30 am
Or by appointment


Author & Text: Jeff Suzuki, A History of Mathematics


Learning Objectives:


1.     The student will state how the development of mathematics was influenced by society and environment during various historical eras. (L4, L5, L14, L15)

2.     The student will state how mathematics helped shape the society of various eras. (L4, L5, L14, L15)

3.     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)

4.     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)

5.     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)

6.     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)




10-12                           Short in-class Responses

These will be one to five sentences written responses to questions raised in the lecture. (WTL exercises)

2                                            75-minute tests during class periods.

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)

3-4                                    Short oral presentations and write-up.

Each will be graded on a 5-point scale. The presentation will be 0-3 points and judged on coherence and clarity of presentation as well as originality of topic. The write-up (a WTL exercise) will be 0-2 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.

1                                            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 selected from people, problems, schools or controversies in mathematics and must have the instructors consent. The bibliography must include books, journal articles (not from e-journals), and Web addresses (must include at least one e-journal).


Your course grade is based on these 6 parts as follows:


Short in-class Responses 5%

Test 1 20%

Test 2 20%

Final 20%

Presentations and write-ups 15%

Paper 20%


Letter grade: A90>B80>C70>D60>F



January 6 First day of Class
January 13-April 28 Short Responses
January 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
January 27 Topic chosen for paper.

January 27-April 21 Short Presentations (Write-up due the following week.)

February 10 Outline of paper due

February 17 Test 1

February 27 Last Day to withdraw with a W

March 14 Math Day (No Math Classes, Great Talks)

April 7 Rough draft of paper due

April 14 Test 2

April 28 Last Day of Class

May 5 Final Exam 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm



Academic dishonesty is NOT tolerated. It will result in failure on assignment(s) as well as possible disciplinary sanction(s) as stipulated by university rules. State University of

West Georgia Student Conduct Code defines academic dishonesty as cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating or allowing academic dishonesty in any academic exercise.


Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids


Fabrication: falsification or unauthorized invention of any information or citation


Plagiarism: representing the words or ideas of another as one's own. Direct quotations must be indicated and ideas of another must be appropriately acknowledged.


Academic dishonesty in any form compromises your grade and lowers the quality of your diploma. A fellow student who cheats may actually lower your grade, sometimes causing unfair and inflated grading scales. I hope each of you values your college education enough to protect yourself from dishonest classmates. If you are aware of cheating taking place, please contact Dr. Giovannitti and proper action will be taken.


* NOTE: A W designation after a section number signifies that the course is a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) course. WAC accepts as a guiding principle the idea that writing is a valuable tool for learning and communication. Therefore, the writing components of a course so designated are designed to help you learn the material and communicate what you have learned. Students are required to take two W courses for an undergraduate degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.