Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Teach History of Mathematics?

Just now I happened to come across:

The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 76, No. 475, The Use of the History of Mathematics in the Teaching of Mathematics, Mar., 1992
!! (Old paper!)

I haven't managed to read the whole document yet, but it sparked my interest due to my own thoughts on the issue. I feel that the history of a subject gives one motivation to study it, and appreciate it more. In my own case, reading about Galois and friends(!) helped me to get a move on and work on the Galois group. Also reading about Euler made me stop "disliking" the guy (which was for a petty reason indeed i.e. due to his method for solving ODEs, which tortured me during college!) The history of a subject allows one to see the development of their subject, and interesting scenarios that were previously encountered and how they were resolved.

I'm not sure whether you can access that paper without an Athen's account or something similar, but it looks an interesting read. When I expand on my thoughts on this topic sometime, I hope to have read the article by then. Yes, my paragraph above has been very vague (due to my brain and body not working together at the moment!) but this isn't the end of this topic yet.

An aside: the mathematical gazette came up in a conversation I had with Dr. C the other day, but I hadn't actually followed up with what I had said I would. The world works in a funny way, for no "chasing up" was required and I came across the Gazette without meaning too! (More on this later too. It is enough to say that I am going to be drowning in my ambitions soon, and hope to surface and blog when I get the chance!)

1 comment:

Beans said...

A "Jessica" posted the following link:

(I doesn't look suspect; and although it is of no use to myself, others might find it useful).

Comment removed due to a "different" link being posted too.