MATH3560 History of Mathematics

MATH3560 is a Mathematics Level III course. The course can be taken as a General Education course. See the course overview below.

Units of credit: 3

Prerequisites: 6 units of credit in Level II Mathematics courses

Exclusion: GENS2005

Cycle of offering: Term 1 

Graduate attributes: The course will enhance your research, inquiry and analytical thinking abilities.

More information: This recent course handout (pdf) contains information about course objectives, assessment, course materials and the syllabus.

The Online Handbook entry contains up-to-date timetabling information.

If you are currently enrolled in MATH3560, you can log into UNSW Moodle for this course.

Course Aims

History serves as a mirror, allowing us to compare how things are now to how they used to be. This course aims to deepen your understanding of modern mathematics by contrasting it with mathematics from ancient Mesopotamia, almost 4000 years ago. This illuminates several fundamental questions such as: what is a number, what is a proof, and why do people study mathematics?

Rather than covering the long and storied history of mathematics across many different civilizations, this course shall deepen your understanding of modern mathematics by teaching you how to think like ancient Mesopotamian people did with an emphasis on educational techniques, original source material and recent discoveries.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the mathematics of ancient Mesopotaima. Students will investigate the concepts of arithmetic, algorithms and geometry from a Mesopotamian perspective, with an emphasis on origianal source material.