What's in Convergence? - Contents of Volume 20 - 2023

Editors:  Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, Janet Heine Barnett

Editor-Elect: Daniel E. Otero

Associate Editors:  Eugene Boman, Ximena Catepillan, Abe Edwards, Toke Knudsen, Stacy Langton, Betty Mayfield, Adam Parker, Andrew Perry, Adrian Rice, Laura Turner

Founding Editors: Victor Katz, Frank Swetz


Pitfalls and Potential Solutions to Your Primary Source Problems, by Adam E. Parker
Suggestions for dealing with difficulties that can arise when an instructor brings primary sources into the mathematics classroom. (posted 12/18/2023)

Primary Source Projects and Reading Apprenticeship in Mathematics History, by Jennifer Clinkenbeard
A classroom testimonial on the effect of combining primary source-based materials designed to teach mathematics with a framework designed to engage students as readers. (posted 11/20/2023)

A Selection of Problems from A.A. Markov’s Calculus of Probabilities, by Alan Levine
Translation of excerpts from Markov's Calculus of Probabilities (1900), with suggestions for classroom use. (posted 11/06/2023)

The Theorem that Won the War, by Jeff Suzuki
The story of the three Polish mathematicians (Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski, and Jerzy Róẓycki) who first cracked the German encryption system known as Enigma, accompanied by classroom activities that address several key concepts in abstract algebra, including permutation groups, cycle notation, conjugates, and cycle decomposition. (posted 10/09/2023)

Ciclos de Tiempo Maya, por Sandra Monteferrante, traducido por Ximena Catepillán con la ayuda de Samuel Navarro
La autora discute la historia de calendarios Maya, incluyendo el uso del sistema numérico modificado de base 20. Traducido al español de un artículo de Convergence publicado en 2007, “Maya Cycles of Time.” (posted 09/11/2023)

Seeking Relevance? Try the History of Mathematics, by Frank Swetz
Reprint of a 1983 NCTM article which argued that a natural integration of historical content into mathematics courses offers multiple benefits to students, with an “epilogue" written by the author in 2023 in which he reflected on developments in the use of history to teach mathematics over the past four decades and assessed the field’s future prospects. (posted 08/21/2023)

Numbers, Infinity, and Reality: An Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Philosophy of Mathematics Course, by Kevin DeLapp and Jessica Sorrells
Description of an undergraduate course at Converse University that brings together advanced topics in the philosophy, history, and sociology of mathematics, providing a fruitful collaboration between mathematics instruction and humanities curricula. (posted 06/19/2023)

HOM SIGMAA 2023 Student Paper Contest Winner
Read the winning paper from the 20th annual edition of this contest: “Nicole Oresme and the Revival of Medieval Mathematics” by Adin Charles Tinsley. (posted 05/23/2023)

Things Certain and Uncertain, by Michael P. Saclolo and Erik R. Tou
The story of a mathematical problem on the mechanics of hot air balloon flight that Euler was working on the very day of his death, presented in its historical context and accompanied by a classroom capsule with suggestions for how the mathematics of balloon flight can be used in a contemporary differential equations or physics course. (posted 5/22/2023)

Who? How? What? A Strategy for Using History to Teach Mathematics, by Patricia Wilson and Jennifer Chauvot
The authors review four benefits of using the history of mathematics in the classroom and suggest a strategy of asking who does mathematics, how mathematics is done, and what mathematics is in order to help students and instructors discover the human story of mathematics by beginning to explore its history. (posted 4/24/2023)

A Mysterious Copy of Lacroix’s Traité Élémentaire de Calcul Différentiel et de Calcul Intégral, by Adrian Rice
The author's recounting of an intriguing mystery surrounding his personal copy of the 4th edition of Lacroix's well-known textbook—a tale that involves Augustus De Morgan, James Joseph Sylvester, and the teaching of mathematics at University College London in its early days. (posted 3/27/2023)

Aiding the Teaching of Geometry and Affording Mathematical Recreation: Paper Folding in the Spirit of Sundara Rao of Madras, by Peggy Aldrich Kidwell
A history of paper folding in mathematics education that focuses on the background, publication, and reception of Sundara Rao’s 1893 Geometrical Exercises in Paper Folding. The article also describes several potential classroom activities for secondary and undergraduate students of geometry and preservice teachers. (posted 3/13/2023)

Ongoing Series

Historical Notes for the Calculus Classroom, by V. Frederick Rickey
A series of short articles on the history of calculus, developed through the author’s experiences with historical research and teaching and written for the use of instructors.

Historically Speaking, by Betty Mayfield
Selections from the short columns on historical mathematics that ran in NCTM’s Mathematics Teacher between 1953 and 1969, with new commentary placing the history and mathematics into context.

Quotations in Context, by Michael Molinsky
A series of columns that explores the origins and meanings of various quotations about mathematics and mathematicians.

HoM Toolbox, or Historiography and Methodology for Mathematicians
A series that guides readers through the basic principles and theoretical approaches for researching and writing the history of mathematics.

Keys to Mathematical Treasure Chests
A series that offers examples of how online databases of mathematical objects can be mined to unlock the collections that they preserve for use in research and teaching.

A Series of Mini-projects from TRansforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources
A collection of student-ready projects for use in teaching standard topics from across the undergraduate curriculum.

Mathematical Treasures

Mathematical Treasures, by Frank J. Swetz

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 2023: