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 Overview

The historical view of mathematics places emphasis on underlying ideas and themes that often took centuries to formulate. This course will introduce selected topics in the history of mathematics, relating primarily to developments in modern European mathematics, from the years 1600 to the start of the twentieth century. The course will provide an introduction and motivation to other courses in your program, including complex analysis, topology, group theory, number theory and Galois theory. Many important mathematicians will figure prominently, including Newton, Leibniz, the Bernoulli's, Euler, Lagrange, Galois, Cauchy and Poincare; however the historical details will be less important for us than the broad development of the mathematical ideas.

Students will be asked to combine historical reading with a short presentation and a one to two page report, and the tests and final exam will encourage clear exposition of both historical and mathematical facts and ideas. We will also have some classroom discussions in which students are encouraged to share their knowledge and opinions. Online YouTube videos will play a role in our learning, as we will use reverse teaching this year for half of the course.