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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Mathematics

History of Mathematics

Assorted resources relating to history of mathematics (with thanks to Prof. Steven Weintraub and Lehigh University's Special Collections for suggestions)

1. Lehigh University's Special Collections: Historical works in history of mathematics

Special Collections has holdings in the history of mathematics. For help in identifying these holdings as they relate to your interests, or to set up an individual or class visit to Special Collections to view them, contact the Science Librarian.

An example of Lehigh University holdings in Special Collections are works by Arthur Cayley. Professor Steven H. Weintraub of Lehigh University's  Mathematics Department researched the mathematical, historical, and biographical significance of the materials from Arthur Cayley in this collection. These consist of a memoir on the quintic equation (manuscript) and letters from Cayley to Robert Harley.

Also, Lehigh University contributed images to the  Index of Mathematical Treasures, part of the MAA 's Convergence Project. For example, see John Napier's  Rabdologiae (6 images), 1617. (Webpage author: Frank J. Swetz of Pennsylvania State University.)

2. Lehigh University's Library: electronic resources

Lehigh subscribes to Historia Mathematica, the leading journal in the history of mathematics.

See also MathSciNet. From the database's description:

"Continuing in the tradition of the paper publication, Mathematical Reviews (MR), which was first published in 1940, expert reviewers are selected by a staff of professional mathematicians to write reviews of the current published literature; over 80,000 reviews are added to the database each year. Extending the MR tradition, MathSciNet® contains almost 3 million items and over 1.7 million direct links to original articles. Bibliographic data from retrodigitized articles dates back to the early 1800s. Reference lists are collected and matched internally from approximately 550 journals, and citation data for journals, authors, articles and reviews is provided.  This web of citations allows users to track the history and influence of research publications in the mathematical sciences."

Note: Use of the afore-mentioned "web of citations" is a powerful technique for tracing the history of mathematical sub-fields.

3. Resources about using history of mathematics in teaching

Courtesy Prof. Steven Weintraub:

Try a Google search on:   using primary sources in teaching mathematics.

Also, do a Google search on: TRansforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources (TRIUMPHS)

Some webpages from Ursinus are here and here.

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For a paper about use of historical materials in mathematics pedagogy, see: The Pedagogy of Primary Historical Sources in Mathematics: Classroom Practice Meets Theoretical Frameworks.