WISM103: History from Ellipse to Elliptic Curve 2018/19

This page supplements the information in Blackboard and will be updated with suggested reading, course notes, etc.


Students work in pairs on three assignments.

We will announce two assignments each lecture. Each pair selects three out of the six assignments to work on. We encourage you to explore the historical and social aspects of mathematics as well as to understand the mathematics at a more intuitive level than you have become accustomed to in regular mathematics courses.

Results are to be handed in in the form of one article-style paper. A (perhaps limited) level of integration of the individual assignments is preferred but this is not strictly necessary.

Several people have asked if it is ok to hand in by email, and indeed it is!

Anything handed in after the deadline will suffer a grade deduction of 1 point per working day or part thereof. We will consider the weekend as 1 working day.

Assignments and content of lectures

First lecture Fri 12 April

Lecture slides (careful, 23MB) and two assignments in the pdf

For your information and benefit: a digital copy of the Dictionary of Scientific Biography is available from the University Library and is accessible through WorldCat.

Second lecture Fri 26 April

Lecture slides Assignments are in the last two sheets. Suggested reading:

Third lecture Friday 3 May

Lecture slides Suggestions for literature: The 6th assignment refers to this article The war of the frogs and the mice

Friday 10 May

No lecture
Deadline for handing in your worked assignments
Steven Wepster