January 29

Notes from the first class.

I hope/expect/(may require) students to provide the content.

While calling the roll, I asked students to

Write some private notes on what you know (or think you know) about

  • Euclid (the person)
  • Euclid's Elements (the book)
  • Eucldean Geometry (the mathematics)

Now it would be interesting to see your responses to these question, here, with reflections on answers before and after the class. Feel free to add class notes and links as well. Please tag major contributions (like whole paragraphs) with your name. No need to do that for minor edits and responses. Ethan

Previous to learning about Euclid and Elements, I was mixed as to my recollection of what the words meant. I was familiar with Euclid the mathematician, recognizing his immense importance in the development of geometry. I was largely unfamiliar with Elements, though the concept of mathematicians summarizing their findings in literature so as to inform future mathematicians is not a foreign concept. Finally, I was somewhat familiar with the term "Euclidean Geometry," but not by that name. I recall learning about this type geometry prior to the introduction of algebra, particularly in fifth grade with a proof of the relationship between the base, height and hypotenuse of a right triangle, prior to learning the Pythagorean Theorem.

With regard to the layout for the course, I like the way this course is headed. One of the things that drove me to take this course is to learn more about mathematicians that discovered things that we now take for granted. It has been interesting to example Euclid's discoveries, taking into account that algebra, as well as the relation between algebra and geometry, had not yet been developed. What was also interesting to examine was how the concepts Euclid developed have been dissected and studied through history, all the way up to the turn of the twentieth century. I hope that I will have the chance to present some on a mathematician. Rob

Before walking into this class i had no idea who Euclid was or what Euclidean Geometry was. Now i know that Euclid was a Greek Mathematician. He is very well known and has his own book of elements that are used all over the math world. He is a main historical figured used to learn the history of math. I am going to assume we will learn a lot more about him in the upcoming classes and in the text book.
Nicole Nocera

Just like Nicole, I did not know who Euclid was and what his book was about before we talked about him in class; but I have heard/learned/used a bit of Eucldean Geometry in the past even though I did not know what was the name of it back then. The question for me is that I have never bothered to memorized the names of different math 'things' I have learned in the past, for me it is more like if I know how to use them, I would be fine. This actually is one of the reasons I want to take this class, just so that I can actually try to learn the history behind math, instead of just use whatever is there now without know where it came from. Just like Euclid, I am pretty sure I will remember him from now on.
I actually like the way this course is heading, unlike any other math courses, instead of taking down what the profs write on the board without completely understanding the material, we are trying to put ourselves back to that time and use their ways of thinking and through that to 'know' that part of the history of math.

same as everyone, I don't know too much about Euclid and Euclidean Geometry. I only learn few Euclidean Geometry in high school. Before I think Euclidean Geometry is easy because he just tell people some postulates and propositions that everyone know or agree with. However, when I start to learning and trying to prove the works he did before, I find it's very hard, even for something "looks" like easy and simple. The reason is we need to prove some elements by the most basic postulates. So many propositions people think they are right but actually people have no idea why they are true. Euclid is the beginner for mathematics, he did a lot great jobs help people learn mathematics. But if we start as beginner, we will see how difficult for that. no one will tell you how to do, even you finally get answers or propositions, no one will tell you they are true or false. Moreover, there will be someone to correct you or complete your proposition after hundred or thousand years.
That's called history of mathematics, more and more people are coming to join and more and more ideas are coming up.——JUN

wow… so many statements, postulates and theorems! I figured Math history would be studying about the history of mathematicians, but boy was I wrong! It was interesting to know that Euclid build his postulates without using any numbers. It was difficult to avoid the modern terms such as the parallel lines and isosicle trianle rules. However, it was fun to figure out the time line of how the origin of geometry began through carefully questioning the concepts that might look obvious, but not without the proofs. All the basic math knowledge would be useful and this would be a great opportunity to learn the elements of mathematics.
Books are way too expensive at UMB book store so I ordered mine through online. Anyone who has text book and could explain things in detail for the next few notes would be appreciated.
Rachel Bay-Chaparro

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