Math 395 History of Mathematics Spring 2010

Prof.  Buckmire




HW/Quizzes Students












Ron Buckmire
~ 259-2536 ~ ron "at" ~ MadProfessah


I am almost always in my office (Fowler 313) until at least 5pm.
My official office hours for Spring 2010 are
MTWRF 1-2pm.

I am readily accessible by electronic mail at ron AT and by phone at x2536. My AOL (and Yahoo) Instant Messenger name is MadProfessah and I strongly encourage you to chat with me about class-related topics. I think out-of-classroom student interactions with faculty are important and I encourage it as much as I can (NOTE the participation portion of your course grade). If you need to see me at a time not specified here, do not hesitate to contact me and make an appointment and Iíll be happy to meet with you.

CLASSROOM We will meet in Fowler 310, MWF from 10:30am-11:25pm.

TEXTBOOK (Required) A History of Mathematics, An Introduction (Third Edition) by Victor J. Katz  (Addison-Wesley, 2009). ISBN-10 0-321-38700-7.


History of Mathematics is a Special Topics in Advanced Mathematics course which is being offered for the first time by yours truly. Hopefully, by the end of the class,

  1. You will be exposed to the human side of mathematics and its development.
  2. You will appreciate the significant contributions and connections mathematics and mathematicians have with our culture.
  3. You will receive an overview of a wide variety of mathematics topics, so you can see how various concepts fit together and where the important ideas come from.
  4. You will improve your written and oral communication skills in the context of mathematics.
  5. You will learn proper ways to use mathematics resource material in the library and on the Internet.
  6. You will learn about contributions of female and non-western mathematicians to the mathematics discipline.


The official Departmental learning outcomes of this class are:

Outcome 2.1: Students will complete an individual or group project related to the content of an upper division mathematics course, and present the results of the project through a paper, poster, or talk.

Outcome 3.1: Students will write a clear and well-organized paper in the model of a scholarly paper in the field.

Outcome 3.2: Students will give a clear and well-organized presentation on a mathematical topic.

Outcome 5.1: Students are able to define and deploy important terms in multiple areas of advanced mathematics.

Outcome 5.2: Students are able to provide examples that illustrate important concepts found in multiple areas of advanced mathematics.


There are a total of 500 points at stake in determining your course grade. These are evenly split between formative assessments and summative assessments. A formative assessment is one which is used to assess learning during the education process and provides feedback to the learner so that they can make adjustments to improve their learning. A summative assessment is an assessment of the learning that has occurred at the conclusion of an education period.

Formative Assessment (250 points) Summative Assessment (250 points)
First Paper (100) HW & Quizzes (100)
Drafts of both papers (50) Second Paper (100)
In-Class Participation (100) Oral or Online Project component (50)


Occidental College students have a long tradition of upholding the highest standards of academic integrity. Increasingly, however, students are either purposely or accidentally plagiarizing works that they find on the web. As an Occidental College faculty member, I am required to report any suspected cases of plagiarism to the judicial examiner and will not hesitate to do so.

For more information on plagiarism please see this link:


It is the policy of Occidental College to make all possible reasonable accommodations to allow
students with disabilities to participate fully in all classes. If you feel that you have specific
disabilities that may impact your participation in the course feel free to discuss these issues with
me, or Magen Todd (Disabilities Specialist) at the Center for Academic Excellence, 323-259-2849. These discussions will remain confidential.


We will not have class March 8-12 (Spring Break). Buckmire will be out of  town on Friday February 26 and Friday March 19.


Any aspect of this syllabus is subject to change, at any time, although you will be notified of any changes. For example, there is a reasonable likelihood of a 100-point final exam, TBA.