May
17, 2007

Dear
Participant,

We're
excited that you’ll be joining us for **Discovery
and Uses of the History of Mathematics** course that is being sponsored by
the Rocky Mountain Middle School Math and Science Partnership (RMMSMSP). We
will be meeting in the library of Englewood High School* Monday – Friday, June
4 – June 15, 2007, 8:30 – 4 pm. We anticipate a fun, interactive but intense
experience.

We
have several goals for this concentrated two-week course. During this course, expect that you will:

- Learn how to perform
efficient, reliable historical research on the web in order to answer
questions that you and your students have about mathematical topics;
- Learn about the growth
of various mathematical content strands and have a rough idea when many of
the topics that you teach were first discovered or created;
- “Meet” several
fascinating personalities from our mathematical past whose stories can
help you and your students bring to life the origins of present day middle
school mathematics, and
- Learn some fun-to-tell
historical accounts and cool stories to share with your students about the
mathematics that they are learning.

In
preparation for the class, we ask that you begin thinking about several things.
First, it will be very helpful - but not required - for you to have Internet
access at a home during the evenings and on the weekends. As mentioned above, you’ll be researching
questions on the web throughout the class.

Secondly,
since we’ll be in class all day and have small homework assignments on some
evenings, please be prepared to really invest yourself in the class.

Begin
thinking about any people or time periods from the history of math about which
you are curious. Your inquisitiveness
and energy to satisfy it will be important ingredients in making this class fun
and worthwhile for yourself and all of us.

Finally,
we ask that you __choose one book__ from the attached list that interests
you __and read it__ prior to the class. We chose these books because we
enjoyed reading them and we have given short commentaries/reviews to help guide
your choice. (An on-line bookstore can deliver it quickly.)

We’ll
see you Monday morning, June 4^{th} at 8:30 sharp. We’ll have some
munchies available for breaks, but since we’ll all be sitting at computers,
please finish your morning beverages and goodies before you come into the
computer area.

If you have questions, your first contact is Julie
or Arianna in the Project Coordinator’s office:

303-556-6509. They emailed this note to you, so their email
address is above. You may also contact any of us with course content
questions.

Your
instructors,

Bill
Cherowitzo william.cherowitzo@cudenver.edu,

Jim
Loats loatsj@mscd.edu

Carmen
Rubino mscrubino@yahoo.com

* Englewood
High School is very near the intersection of Broadway and Hampden. More
precisely, it is on the NE corner of
the intersection of Logan and Mansfield in Englewood. That is a
couple blocks south of Hampden and a couple blocks east of Broadway on Logan.

Recommended
Reading for

RMMSMP
– Discovery and Uses of the History of Mathematics

The following books are in no particular order:

1.
**Mathematical Scandals**, by
Theoni Pappus (1997)

*Mathematics is principally about
numbers, equations, and solutions, all of them precise and timeless. But behind
this arcane matter lies the sometimes sordid world of real people, whose
rivalries and deceptions are at odds with the mathematician's reputation for
clear thinking and scientific detachment. In this highly readable volume of
vignettes of mathematical scandals and gossip, Theoni Pappas assembles 29
fascinating stories of intrigue and the bizarre -- in short, the human
background of the history of mathematics*.

2.
**Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel
Lines to Hyperspace**, by Leonard Mlodinow (2001)

Leonard Mlodinow
attempts the difficult task of presenting geometry as a core activity in
mathematics, science and human culture, and pulls it off brilliantly...Euclid`s
Window is a remarkably painless way to discover just how central geometric
thinking has been to human culture. Like its subject matter, it is elegant, attractive
and concise . . . but also very readable.

* *

3.
**The Crest of the Peacock: The Non-European Roots of
Mathematics**, by G.G. Joseph (1992)

The author examines the contributions to mathematics by the Chinese,
Japanese, Indians, Native Americans and Africans. He challenges widely held
assumptions about the development of mathematics over time.

4.
**The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World’s Most
Astonishing Number**, by Mario Livio (2002)

The author examines and debunks claims of the omnipresence of the golden
ratio. Woven with history, the tale includes the tight relationship of the
golden ratio with Fibonacci numbers.

5.
**Women in Mathematics**, by Lynn
M. Osen (1974)

This is the accepted biography of eight women mathematicians. There is
another book with the same title, but it is about the myths of women in
mathematics.

6.
**The Other Side of the Equation: A Selection of
Mathematical Stories and Anecdotes**, by Howard W. Eves (1972)

*This volume is a compilation of mathematical
anecdotes. Here you can learn why there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics.
Whether or not you believe the story is another matter ...*

7.
**Trigonometric Delights**, by Eli
Maor (1998)

Maor's presentation of the historical development of the concepts and
results deepens one's appreciation of them, and his discussion of the
personalities involved and their politics and religions puts a human face on
the subject. His exposition of mathematical arguments is thorough and
remarkably easy to understand. There is a lot of material here that teachers
can use to keep their students awake and interested. In short, Trigonometric
Delights should be required reading for everyone who teaches trigonometry and
can be highly recommended for anyone who uses it.

* *

8.
**Numerology, or What Pythagoras Wrought**, by
Underwood Dudley (1997)

Numerology is the delusion that numbers have power over events.
Numerology is a descendent of number mysticism, which is the belief that the
contemplation of numbers can give mystical and non-rational insights into their
nature and the nature of the universe. This book gives an outline of the
history of number mysticism and numerology with many examples. The message of
the book is that numbers indeed have power, but not over events, rather over
human minds. The book is intended for anyone interested in human folly.

9.
**The Art of Mathematics**, by Jerry
P. King (1992)

Why do so many intelligent, cultured people find
mathematics a deep mystery – or a nightmare? Why do people who appreciate the
beauty of a Shakespeare sonnet or a Vermeer painting tremble at the prospect of
deciphering a simple algebraic formula? In this clear, concise, and superbly
written volume, mathematics professor and poet Jerry P. King reveals that
beauty is at the heart of mathematics – and he makes that beauty accessible to
all readers.** **

10.
**Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea**, by
Charles Seife (2000)

Zero’s history is a crafted saga. The author foreshadows the events
which lead the reader to wonder what is going to happen despite the fact that
we know the ending.