OFFICIAL SYLLABUS
The detailed syllabus for Fall 2023 History of Mathematics is available at https://sites.oxy.edu/ron/math/395/23/Math395Fall2023Syllabus.pdf.
INSTRUCTOR
Ron Buckmire ~
3232592536 ~ ron
"at"oxy.edu ~
OFFICE HOURS
I am almost always in my
office (Fowler 313) until at least 5pm.
My official office hours for Fall 2023 are MTWRF
34pm.
Zoom link is: https://occidental.zoom.us/j/3232592536?pwd=ZmxDY01sRVNPTlY2a04rMzJHU1BXQT09
Zoom room is 323 259 2536 code 235711
CLASSROOM
We will meet in Fowler 310, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30pm2:55pm.
TEXTBOOKS
• The
History of Mathematics: A SourceBased Approach (Volume 1),
by June BarrowGreen, Jeremy Gray, and Robin Wilson. MAA Press, 2019.
ISBN
9781470443528.
• The History of Mathematics:
A SourceBased Approach (Volume 2),
by June BarrowGreen, Jeremy Gray, and Robin Wilson. MAA Press, 2022.
ISBN
9781470443825.
• A History of Mathematics,
3rd edition by Carl B.
Boyer and Uta
C. Mertzbach. Wiley, 2011. ISBN13 9780470525487.
• A History of Mathematics, An
Introduction, Third Edition by
Victor J. Katz AddisonWesley, 2009. ISBN13 9780321387004.
• An Introduction to the History of
Mathematics, Sixth Edition by
Howard Eves. Cengage, 1990. ISBN13 9780030295584
COURSE DESCRIPTION
This seminar course is a survey of selected topics from the history of
mathematics. Through exposure and access to primary historical sources
and other materials, students will gain deeper insights into
mathematical concepts they have seen before, be introduced to new
mathematical ideas, and learn about the development and developers of
mathematics in the past and present. The primary objective of the
course is for students to synthesize various mathematical ideas from
fundamental and advanced mathematics courses as a capstone experience
for the major. Students will complete a project about an advanced
mathematical topic with presentations in written and oral form at the
end of the course.
This course satisfies the Core
Program Requirement: Pre1800 (CPPE). Prerequisite:
Any 300level Mathematics course (may be taken concurrently) or
permission of instructor.
COURSE OBJECTIVES
The course is designed so
that by eth eend of the course, students will
 be exposed to the human side of
mathematics and the people involved in the develop
ment of mathematical concepts.
 appreciate the significant
contributions and connections mathematics and mathemati
cians have with our culture.
 receive an overview of a wide variety
of mathematics topics, so students can see how
various mathematics concepts and results are related to each other, and
how and where
important ideas come from.
 improve their written and oral
communication skills in the context of mathematics.
• use primary sources to see the ways that various mathematical
concepts were initially
presented and contrast this with more modern approaches.
 learn about contributions of female and
nonwestern mathematicians to the mathemat
ics discipline.
STUDENT
LEARNING OUTCOMES
The official Departmental
student 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 wellorganized
paper in the model of a scholarly paper in the field.
Outcome 3.2: Students will give a clear and wellorganized 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.
GRADING CONTRACT
In order to enhance
equity and agency for students, a number
of Oxy faculty (including myself) have begun implementing “alternative
grading” policies.
In this class this involves providing students with the expectations
and specification for what
the students need to do in order to receive a specific grade in the
class. This “specifications
grading” process or “grade contract” means that although you will
receive individualized
feedback on all assignments (typically meets expectations or ✓ and fails
to meet expectations
or ×) your grade will not be computed as a percentage of the available
points on individual
assignments or in the course as a whole.
The idea behind this approach is to try to separate the grade in a
course from the learning
that occurs in the course. This does not mean that you will be doing
less work or having
your work assessed less often. It means that as the student, you have
more control over what
your final course grade is, because the terms are stated clearly in the
grading contract (see
brief summary below; full details are in the detailed syllabus).

A

B

C

D

Informal Homework

12 or more ✓

10 or more ✓

8 or more ✓

6 or more ✓

Formal Homework Responses

3 or more ✓

2 or more ✓

1 or more ✓

None

Missed Class Sessions

Less than 2

Less than 4

Less
than 6

Less than 10

Exam Score

>80%

>66%

>50%

>33%

Project: Written
& Oral Presentation

Both Meet ✓

Submit Both &
1 Meet ✓

Submit One &
Meet ✓

Submit One

