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MA 280

MA 280 Syllabus

*topics vary each semester, but may include:

I. Numeration Systems

  • Babylonian, Egyptian, Mayan, Chinese Numeration Systems
  • Calculations in different systems
  • Ambiguity & Use of Zero
  • Development of Base 10 systems including Hindu-Arabic Numerals

II. Zero

  • Earliest uses of zero
  • Controversy & paradoxes around zero
  • Operations with zero; Indeterminate forms
  • Limits approaching zero
  • Infinitesimals; Development of Calculus

III. Infinity

  • Philosophical conceptions of infinity
  • Controversy & paradoxes around infinity
  • Limits at infinity & infinite limits
  • Indeterminate Forms; Connections to Calculus

IV. Selected Topics - varies by Instructor, for example:

  • Development of Deductive Logic throughout history, (Aristotle, Chrysippus, Wittgenstein, Russell, Whitehead, Post)
  • Development of Non-Euclidean Geometry (Euclid, Saccheri, Bolyai, Lobachevsky, Reimann, Klein, Beltrami)
  • Mathematical Biographies – what does it mean to think like a mathematician?
  • History of mathematics within a particular culture or region