Math 2720W-001, Fall 2013
History of Mathematics

General Information

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Lectures Instructor Textbook
Grades Small Assignments Papers Exams
Help Academic Integrity Accessibility Issues Religious Observances



Johanna Franklin will be teaching this course.


The textbook will be The Honors Class: Hilbert's Problems and Their Solvers by Ben H. Yandell. Please let me know if you're having trouble finding it.

I will also assign readings from A History of Mathematics, third edition, by Uta C. Merzbach and Carl B. Boyer. This book is available online from the UConn library and can be either read online or downloaded a chapter at a time.

I may assign other readings during the course that you will have to access online.


The course grade will be determined as follows:

According to university-wide policies for W courses, you cannot pass this course unless you receive a passing grade for its writing components.

Small Assignments

Various small assignments, both in class and take home, will be due throughout the term, including proposals for your longer papers, some mathematical problems, and some short essays.


Three papers will be assigned over the course of the term:

The final versions of each paper will be graded on the following general scheme: 40% content, 40% argument, and 20% mechanics. For a more detailed rubric, click here.

More information about the individual requirements for these papers will be available here as the term progresses.


There will be one midterm and a comprehensive final exam in this class. The midterm will be given in class on October 17, and the date for the final exam will be announced as soon as possible.

Please avoid making travel arrangements that would not allow you to take the final at the scheduled time. UConn policy is not to allow rescheduling for this sort of reason. Please note that vacations, previously purchased tickets or reservations, graduations, social events, misreading the assessment schedule, and oversleeping are not viable excuses for missing a final exam. If you think that your situation warrants permission to reschedule, please contact OSSA to meet with a staff member by November 29th.

I apply almost the same policy to midterm exams as to the final exam: if your reason for missing the midterm would be acceptable as a reason for missing the final, I will arrange for a makeup exam, but not otherwise. The exception is the "Bunched Finals" clause on that page -- I won't reschedule your midterm in a situation like that.


If you're having trouble understanding the course material, want to talk over one of your papers, or if you just want to find out more about a topic, come find me! I have office hours, but if they don't fit your schedule, we can make an appointment to meet at another time.

Since part of the purpose of this course is to help you learn how to write effectively, you may also wish to consult the tutors at the UConn Writing Center.

Academic Integrity

I expect you to be familiar with and abide by UConn's academic integrity policy at all times. There should be no help given or received on the midterm or final exam, and you will not be allowed to use any computational aids during the exams. You are welcome to talk about the homework problems with your classmates and ask me questions if you get stuck, but I expect you to write the names of any classmates you worked with on your homework.

The issue of plagiarism normally doesn't arise in math courses, but it does in this one. I expect you to understand what constitutes plagiarism and avoid it. This UConn website has a clear description of plagiarism and an explanation of why several common excuses are not justifications. If you have any questions about whether something constitutes plagiarism, please ask me before your paper is due.

Accessibility Issues

If you have accessibility issues, I encourage you to discuss possible accommodations with me and consult the Center for Students with Disabilities in Room 204 of the Wilbur Cross Building. This office can help determine appropriate accommodations for you.

Religious observances

Some students may wish to take part in religious observances during this academic term. If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.