Part I: 17 April 2009 (Friday)
Part II: 29 April 2009 (Wednesday)
Tao Nan School
The objective of this two-part workshop is to show that there are fascinating stories in the history of mathematics that can shed light on the nature of the discipline that we call mathematics today. Examples will be drawn from elementary mathematics. No technical background is required.
The workshop is based on four great books:
(i) “The Elements” by Euclid (c. 300 BCE)
(ii) “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing” by al-Khwarizmi (c 820)
(iii) “The Analytic Art” by Viete (1591)
(iv) “Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art” (dates unknown, but believed to be between 200 BCE and 50 CE, authors unknown)
From these four great books, the following topics will be discussed:
(a) What is the axiomatic-deductive methodology of mathematics? What are the implications of this methodology?
(b) Are there alternative methodologies? What are the pros and cons of these alternatives?
(c) How did algebra evolve from arithmetic? How did the rise of algebra impact mathematics as we know it today?
This workshop will be most useful for (lower and upper) secondary and JC teachers.