MA 3513, January 9, 2017

Meeting times and location:

MWF 1:00 - 1:50pm,  Allen 19

Web page:


MA 3513 will explore the history of several topics from high school and undergraduate mathematics. We will develop a deeper understanding of both the ideas, and of how mathematicians at various times understood or interpreted the ideas.


The prerequisite is MA 2733 (including coregistration); or equivalent mathematical maturity and experience.

My contact info:

Dr. Russ Woodroofe
Allen 418
Office hours: Mon 2:00 - 3:00pm
      + by appt
rwoodroofe at math,msstate,edu           


John Stillwell, Mathematics and Its History.
We will cover selected topics, mostly from the earlier chapters of the textbook (approx. Chapters 1 through 12). I will update the schedule periodically with a record of the topics covered.
As a 3000-level mathematics course, we will grapple with the ideas as well as the people and dates. You should be prepared to explain mathematical ideas, and a secondary goal for the course is to raise your "mathematical maturity" level.


There will be a homework assignment due almost every Friday. On most Fridays, I will select a problem from the homework for a (closed note) homework quiz. I will collect your homework with the homework quiz. The greater part of your homework grade will be determined by the homework quiz.


I expect much of your learning to take place in working out the homework problems. While you may collaborate with other students on the homework, you should generally have thought hard about the problems on your own first. If you do collaborate substantially, then you should so indicate on your homework paper.
To facilitate study groups, etc, we will set up an MA 3513 channel on GroupMe or Slack or similar.
Your write-up should in any case represent your own solutions, written in your own words. Copying the solutions from another student or from an internet source is a violation of the Mississippi State Honor Code, and will be treated as such.


Your grade will be based on the weekly homework/quizzes, 2 in-class midterm exams, and one final exam. Alternatively, in lieu of taking the final exam, you may hand in an 8-10 page final paper that discusses the history of a specific mathematics idea or theorem that you have seen in one of your classes. If you take the paper alternative, you will need to submit a proposal and early draft by deadlines to be announced in class.

Your grade will be weighted according to the proportions

Midterm exams 20% each
Final exam or paper30%
Homework and quizzes   30%

I have scheduled the midterm examinations for Feb 13 and Mar 27.
The final is scheduled by the University for May 1st, 12:00pm - 3:00pm.

If you are taking the course Pass/Fail, you need to do the equivalent of C work to pass.

Honor Code

Mississippi State University has an honor code, which applies to all students and all classes (including this one). See .

Title IX

MSU is committed to complying with Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination, including violence and harassment, based on sex. This means that MSU’s educational programs and activities must be free from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct. See .