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Math 350 Spring 2017
Course: Math 350
Title: History of Mathematics (replacement)
Textbook: There is no required textbook for this course. Throughout the course, I will make reference to various materials that can be used for further reading if desired. My primary resource will be Alexander Soifer's book The Mathematical Coloring Book. Other references and lecture notes will be provided as needed.
Subject Material: The goal of this course is to discuss various topics in combinatorial coloring, and the history of the development of this subject. We will discuss the Four-Color Theorem, the Hadwiger-Nelson problem, Gallai's Theorem, and Ramsey Theory, as well as the mathematicians that developed these topics and their journey to our current state of knowledge. As this course is a replacement for History of Mathematics, we will have perhaps an unusual emphasis on history in these discussions, compared to other mathematics courses.
A note on course structure: Unlike most of your math classes, there is no set syllabus of material we need to cover here. The course structure is a little more free for us to explore as we choose. If you want more of a particular topic, or there's something you're interested in covering, please let me know! I'd by super happy to try and accommodate any requests as we go along. In addition, you should expect that there may be more writing and less problem-solving than you're used to in this course.
Lecture: Attending the lecture is a fundamental part of the course. Should you need to miss lecture, I suggest talking to a classmate to get a rundown of what happened, so that you are prepared for the next class. Since we are a little free regarding the particular course material, missing classes may result in missing useful information.
Classroom Conduct: In the classroom, a certain level of respect and attentiveness is expected. Please do not use phones or computers, play games, or talk to friends during lecture. This can be distracting to other students and the instructor.
Calculators: A calculator is not required for this course. A calculator would never help you understand these concepts anyway.
Homework: Homework problems will be assigned on the course homework page, and should be completed and turned in by the beginning of class on the indicated due date. Some homework problems may be assigned during the lecture, and added to the course homework page immediately following lecture. Please be attentive as this page will be updated very frequently, and I'd hate for you to miss something.
Exams: There will be no exams in this course! Hurray!
Final Essay: In lieu of a final exam, there will be a final course project/essay. More information is available here.
Grading: Your final course grade will be based on the following weighted average:
A curve may be applied to final scores or individual examinations at the instructor's discretion. Regardless of the curve, the following basic rubric will be in place:
- 50% Homework
- 50% Final Essay
- Scores above 90%: A
- Scores above 80%: At least B
- Scores above 70%: At least C
- Scores above 60%: At least D
Academic Honesty: Academic dishonesty is a serious offense, carrying serious administrative sanctions. Any instance of dishonesty will be pursued by the instructor. It is in your best interest to follow all policies laid out here and elsewhere on the website, and familiarize yourself with the university guidelines for academic honesty. Please help maintain both your own integrity and the integrity of Carnegie Mellon University.
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