History of Mathematics
MA484 Winter 2019: Northern Michigan University

This is the syllabus for History of Mathematical Thought Math 484. Here you'll find information on prerequisites, grading policy, homework, study resources and a tentative course schedule.

Instructor & Classroom

  • Dr. Josh Thompson :: Office - JAMR 2226 :: email
  • Math 484 :: Classroom - JAMR 3311 :: 1:00 - 1:50 pm :: MWF
  • Your daily attendance is required. You are expected to come to class daily, to be fully awake, to pay attention to and participate in the class discussion. I will do my part to make class something you look forward to rather than dread.


    You need either:

  • C or better in MA312 or MA331
  • Course Webpage

  • http://euclid.nmu.edu/~joshthom/Teaching/MA484
  • Textbooks

    We will read the book Journey through Genius, roughly one chapter per week. The Burton text may be used as a starting point for papers and projects.

  • Journey through Genius by William Dunham (required, find at the University Bookstore)
  • The History of Mathematics by David M. Burton (optional)
  • Office Hours

  • Monday: 10am - 11am
  • Tuesday: 1pm - 3pm
  • Thursday: 1pm - 2pm
  • Grading

  • Assignments - 50%
  • Exams - 25%
  • Final Project - 25%
  • Assignments

    There will be weekly problem sets. In many of the problems you will be writing proofs. As in any higher-level mathematics class, your proofs should be written in complete sentences. The goal of the proof should be to explain not to verify. Pictures and diagrams are encouraged. A selection of problems will be graded.

    Some assignments may require that you write biographical sketches or construct timelines.

    You are welcome to work with your classmates on your assignments but your final writeup must be your own. You are encouraged to ask me questions about the problem sets.


  • February 21
  • April 15

  • The exams will be in class during our usual time. The exams will be closed book, closed notes, closed friends and open-brained.

    Final Project

    In lieu of a final exam, you will complete a final project. Here are details of the project.

    Laptops & Phones

    Do not use your laptop, phone or electronic media device in class unless instructed to do so.