In my math history class, I had assigned a paper for my students to write. The premise was that they needed to look at a topic of their choice from math history prior to 600 CE. They then needed to take a deeper look at this topic and explain it in its historical context. Since I was very happy with the way they turned out, I let them know that other people may be just as interested in what they wrote. Therefore, I will be posting some of their papers here. I will continue to update as more students volunteer.
I should note that this is a completely optional opportunity for them, and I have only posted the papers of students that have requested I do so. I hope this will give them the opportunity to see how their hard work can be appreciated by a larger audience. Therefore, if you like any, please let the students know by commenting on them, liking, or sharing the post.
The Significance of Number: Ancient Egypt-Eric Shoen
On the topic of ancient Egyptian Mathematics the consummate relic is the Rhind Papyrus. The heading atop this priceless piece has been translated to read “Rules for enquiring into nature and for knowing all that exists, every mystery, every secret.” This is a strong statement for the start of a mathematical treatise, but from the perspective of the author it would have felt wholly accurate. The papyrus contains what is believe to be a fairly complete account of Egyptian mathematical knowledge at the time. It is my intention, however, to focus on the latter part of the heading, the offer the author makes to unravel every mystery, and even every secret, through the application of mathematics and number.
The Geometric Algebra Of Euclid– Jesse Parish
We review the Greek fascination with geometry, beginning with how geometry fit the logical framework of the ancient Greek intellectual world-view and continuing on to explain how geometry pervaded every area of Greek mathematics. We illustrate this through a critical comparison between the geometric algebra of the ancient Greeks and our own symbolic approach to algebra.
The Definitions of Euclid’s Elements-Julia Laing
We discuss the definitions that Euclid enumerates at the start of the Elements. We look at various criticisms and defenses of these as a basis for the propositions of the Elements.