SCIT - School of Computing and Information Technology

MODULE CODE: MM2217 Social and Historical Aspects of Mathematics
PRE-REQUISITES: Pure Maths 1 and either Mathematics for Business or Mathematics for Science and Technology or Foundation Mathematics and either Further Mathematics or Introductory Statistics.
MODULE LEADER: D Thompson, Room MU509, tel 321861
OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MODULE TEAM: D Wilkinson (Module Leader), Room MU517, tel 321452.
LECTURE TIME: Monday, 9,00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.


The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the role of mathematics as part of mankind's cultural development and the changing nature of mathematical activity. This module is recommended for students who wish to enter the teaching profession.



1. Counting Systems Algebra
2. Counting Systems Algebra
3. Counting Systems Algebra
4. Geometry Algebra
5. Geometry Algebra
6. Geometry Calculus
7. Geometry Calculus
8. Modern Applications Calculus
9. Modern Applications Foundations
10. Modern Applications Calculus
11. Modern Applications Foundations
12. Modern Applications Foundations
13. Modern Applications Foundations


All assessments are to be entered in the SCIT assignment receiver

Counting Systems latest date 21 March (5.00 p.m.)
Algebra latest date 25 April (5.00 p.m.)
Geometry latest date 9 May (5.00 p.m.)
Calculus Presentation 12 May
Modern Applications of Maths Presentation 19 May
Foundations of Mathematics latest date 6 June (5.00 p.m.)


Eves, H. An Introduction to the History of Mathematics Holt, Renhard and Winston
Delong, H. A Profile of Mathematical Logic. Adderson - Wesley
Kline, M. Mathematics in Western Culture Hutchinson
Newman The World of Mathematics George Allen and Unwin
C Boyer A History of Mathematics Wiley 1988
J D Barrow "Pi In The Sky" Penguin
Fauvel, J & Gray, J. History of Mathematics 'A reader' Macmillan Press,
Open University
Menninger, K.. Number Words and Number Symbols MIT Press,
Open University History of Mathematics Course Books


The student is reminded that they need to be properly registered for this module before any grade can be awarded.

Subject Specific Outcomes On completion of the module students will be able to:
(i) critically evaluate historical mathematical material

Development of counting systems and notations. Foundations of Mathematics. Development of notations and concepts in algebra.

Assessment component 1, 2, 6: essay 1, essay 2, essay 3

(ii) discuss the role of mathematics in society i.e. the influence of society on the development of mathematics or vice versa.

Modern applications of mathematics in science technology and business. The development and influence of computers on mathematics. The social implications of mathematics.

Assessment component 5 : group presentation 2.

(iii) compare the approach to mathematical problems of mathematicians from different historical periods.

The development of calculus. Changing systems of geometry from Euclid to Gauss Assessment component 3, 4 group presentation 1, analysis of mathematical work.

Personal Transferable Skills l(w) l(o) 3 4 6 7
Generic Academic Outcomes C E F
Teaching and Learning Methods Distance Learning packages, lectures, seminar sessions
Student Contact Hours 3 hours per week
Student Self Directed Hours 7 hours per week
Weekly Programme To be advised
Specialist Resources Needed None
Target Recruitment 25
Assessment component 1 consisting of 1 element : essay 16 2/3% (week 7)
Assessment component 2 consisting of 1 element : essay 16 2/3% (week 8)
Assessment component 3 consisting of 1 element : Analysis of mathematical work 16 2/3% (week 9)
Assessment component 4 consisting of 1 element : Group presentation 16 2/3% (week 10)
Assessment component 5 consisting of 1 element : Group presentation 16 2/3% (week 12)
Assessment component 6 consisting of 1 element : essay 16 2/3% (week 13)


Subject Specific Personal Transferable Skills Generic Academic
(i) (ii) (iii) 1w 1o 2 3 4 5 6 7 A B C D E F G
Essay 1
Essay 2
Group Present 1
Group Present 2
Essay 3

Indicative Reading and Learning Support list: Kline M, (1953) "Mathematics in Western Culture" Pelican.

Site(s) at which will be taught Main
Broad Slot(s) Monday am


Please ensure that you are registered on this module. You should see your course leader/personal tutor if you are not sure what this means. The fact that you are attending module lectures and classes does not mean that you are necessarily registered, if you do not register before the end of the teaching week three, you will not be allowed to gain credits for this module.

Cheating and Plagiarism

1. Definition

Cheating is defined by the University as any action by a candidate or candidates in an examination or other form of assessment, which is intended to give the candidates(s) an unfair advantage over the other candidates.

2. Types of Cheating

Plagiarism and collusion are also forms of cheating and all three forms of misconduct are treated as serious offences by the University.

3. Penalties

Where an offence is admitted, or an independent panel decides that cheating, plagiarism or collusion has occurred, a penalty will be imposed. The severity of the penalty will vary according to the nature of the offence but in all cases will be greater than if the candidate had simply failed the assessment in question.

4. Further Information

Full details of the University's regulations and procedures concerning cheating, plagiarism and collusion can be consulted in Section 9 of the University Academic Regulations for Students, which is available in School Office or from the campus learning centres.


The ability to:

1. Communicate effectively
Writing skills (1w): write accurately and effectively in a variety of structured reports and demonstrate the use of appropriate conventions for each. Recognise the needs of different readers, for example fellow mathematicians/statisticians and those unfamiliar with mathematical/statistical jargon.

Oral presentation skills (1o)- recognise the needs of different audiences and make use of appropriate styles

2. Organise
Identify and use existing resources effectively: develop flexibility in approaches to the management of work in hand. Recognise task demands and manage time effectively. Monitor, review and reflect upon self management.

3. Gather Information - Gather information (data, techniques of analysis, software)

4. Use Information technology
Create, store, send and retrieve data in a variety of forms. Use appropriate software (e.g. Mathcad, SPSS, SAS, GPSS) for the analysis and solution of problems. Know when the use of software is essential or desirable and be aware of the fact that certain problems are most appropriately approached without the aid of a computer.

5. Act independently
Develop autonomy, initiative, self motivation and resourcefulness; demonstrate decision making and problem solving skills.

6. Work in Teams - Work co-operatively in groups, share decision-making and negotiate with others. Awareness and ability to adopt a variety of roles. Listen to relevant opinions before reaching decisions and relate the ideas of others to the task in hand. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of group effectiveness and of own performance and achievements

7. Numeracy - Process numerical information, formulate problems in mathematical terms, cope with varying types and levels of abstract ideas and argument, appreciate the need for rigorous modes of expression. Be precise when developing a mathematical/statistical argument.


On completion of the module the student should be able to
A) Carry out the procedures associated with a given technique
B) Use information about relatively straight forward problems to select a technique from a range of techniques available
C) Use his/her powers of critical analysis to be able to comment on the assumptions and conditions which affect the validity of their chosen approach
D) Use his/her powers of synthesis to represent real world problems in a mathematical/statistical form and to use their subject knowledge to propose an appropriate technique for solving the problem.
E) Communicate the results of their problem solving endeavours to specialists and non-specialists in mathematics/statistics.
F) Cope with abstract ideas and subtle arguments
G) Solve ill-defined problems which require ingenuity in adapting a known procedure to fit a given problem.

Generally outcomes C,D and E will be examined in mini-projects and in the examination. Outcomes under A will tend to be tested in short tests. Level three modules will generally cover material in which a greater degree of abstraction is required, the problems will be less well defined and in which a greater degree of ingenuity is required in order to produce, assess and comment on solutions. The ability to cope with these higher level skills will tend to be tested in examinations and in extended min-projects.

History of Mathematics Module
Links to other Maths History sites

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These pages are maintained by M.I.Woodcock.