What's in Convergence? - Contents of Volume 5 - 2008 (Loci - Volume 1)

Editors: Victor J. Katz, Frank J. Swetz


Apollonius's Ellipse and Evolute Revisited, by Frederick Hartmann and Robert Jantzen

Apollonius found how to draw normals to an ellipse from points in the ellipse by using hyperbolas. A modern version is presented here.

What is 0^0?, by Michael Huber and V. Frederick Rickey

The expression 0^0 is usually called an indeterminate form. This look at the history and meaning of the expression leads to the conclusion that 0^0 = 1, regardless of what is said in some textbooks.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Geometric Sketches, by Frank J. Swetz

Leonardo da Vinci illustrated Luca Pacioli’s 1509 De divina proportione. Several of his illustrations are shown here.

Mathematics Education at West Point: The First Hundred Years, by V. Frederick Rickey and Amy Shell-Gellasch

A survey of the mathematics education of cadets in the first century after the founding of the U.S. Military Academy.

HOM SIGMAA 2008 Student Paper Contest Winners, by Victor J. Katz

There are four winners of the HOM SIGMAA Student Paper Contest for 2008. The winning papers may be accessed here.

Introducing the History of Mathematics: An Italian Experience Using Original Documents, by Adriano Dematte

A discussion of a collaborative effort in Italy to produce materials enabling secondary school teachers to use the history of mathematics in the classroom.

Triangles in the Sky: Trigonometry and Early Theories of Planetary Motion, by Sandra M. Caravella

A survey of early theories of planetary motion, with dynamic figures to help in understanding these motions.

Apportioning Representatives in the United States Congress, by Michael J. Caulfield

The history of apportionment of representatives in the U.S. Congress, from the 1790s until today, along with a discussion of the mathematics involved in the various methods.

The Quipu, by Frank J. Swetz

A collection of illustrations of Inca quipus, with references to their earliest descriptions.

Napier's e, by Amy Shell-Gellasch

A discussion of why we use "e" to represent the base of the natural logarithm system.



History and Pedagogy of Mathematics (HPM) 2008

The quadrennial meeting of the International Study Group on the Relations between History and Pedagogy of Mathematics will be in Mexico City, July 14-18, 2008.



Benjamin Franklin's Numbers: An Unsung Mathematical Odyssey, by Paul C. Pasles. Reviewed by Eugene Boman.

A thorough study of Benjamin Franklin's mathematical accomplishments, in particular his work on magic squares.

Hands on History, A Resource for Teaching Math, edited by Amy Shell-Gellasch. Reviewed by Don Crossfield.

A collection of articles about mathematical models and objects and how they can be used in teaching.

A History of Abstract Algebra, by Israel Kleiner. Reviewed by Ueli Daepp.

A history of the various algebraic structures that came together to give us "abstract algebra" by early in the twentieth century.

The World of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Mathematician of God, by Massimo Mazzotti. Reviewed by Kathleen Ambruso Acker.

A biography stressing Agnesi's deep commitment to help those in need.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. Reviewed by Frank J. Swetz.

There is much to see in this museum related to the history of mathematics.

A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, by Antonella Cupillari. Reviewed by Edith Prentice Mendez.

A biography of the 18th century author of an early calculus text, with some translations from the text.

Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, 1800-2000, by Peggy Aldrich Kidwell, Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, and David Lindsay Roberts. Reviewed by Don Crossfield.

A survey of the use of technology in American mathematics teaching over the past 200 years.

Sacred Mathematics: Japanese Temple Geometry, by Fukagawa Hidetoshi and Tony Rothman. Reviewed by Frank J. Swetz.

This book describes some of the so-called temple geometry problems that Japanese mathematicians posed and solved beginning in the seventeenth century.

Mathematical Expeditions: Chronicles by the Explorers, by Reinhard Laubenbacher and David Pengelley. Reviewed by Jim Kiernan.

A collection of original texts to help students learn some important areas of mathematics.

Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History, by Eleanor Robson. Reviewed by Frank J. Swetz.

A new history of mathematics in ancient Mesopotamia, concentrating on its social aspects.

Mathematics Emerging: A Sourcebook, by Jacqueline Stedall. Reviewed by Gary Stoudt.

Textbook that provides sources in both original form and largely literal translation by Stedall.


Mathematical Treasures

Mathematical Treasures from the Smith and Plimpton Collections at Columbia University, by Frank J. Swetz and Victor J. Katz

Index to Mathematical Treasures Collection: Images of historical texts and objects from libraries, museums, and individuals around the world for use in your classroom!

Mathematical Treasures added during 2008: