Mathematics 5, Winter 2000

The World According to Mathematics

Course DescriptionCourse Information Syllabus Homework Assignments
Friday Discussions Maple Stuff Take-home ExamsStudent Writing



The aim of The World According to Mathematics is to provide the means to see everyday aspects of the world around us through mathematical eyes. The underlying theme of the course is an examination of the notion of representing reality and the fundamental role in this process played by mathematics throughout the history of Western civilization, right up to the present day. Intended for students whose major interests are outside mathematics and the sciences, the course assumes that students have only a background in high school mathematics. By considering specific examples, we will learn to express a substantial number of our experiences in the language of mathematics. We will see that mathematics, especially through mathematical algorithms, is everywhere, whether it be in ISBN book codes or in the swing of a pendulum.


The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.
Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), The Place of Science in Modern Civilization and Other Essays

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  Copyright © 2000 by C. Dwight Lahr and Joshua Laison