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November 2000, Volume 93, Issue 8

FEATURES

Mathematics in Search of History
Donald Barry
The author argues that the history of mathematics is a fluid field within which lively debate occurs. He shares a math problem that requires a community of scholars to simulate the process by which the history of mathematics is actually developed.

The Mathematics of Levi ben Gershon
Shai Simonson
A history of the 14th-century mathematician, some samples of his work with word problems, and an introduction to using historical original sources as a way to interest students and teach mathematics.

Word Histories: Melding Mathematics and Meanings
Rheta Rubenstein, Randy Schwartz
Etymologies of mathematics words as a rich resource for deepening students' understanding and appreciation of mathematics, history, and language. Detailed examples are presented concerning the branches of mathematics, conic sections, and words of Arabic origin.

Mathematics in the Age of Jane Austen: Essential Skills of 1800
S. Gray
Textbooks from the 1880s for young ladies vs. young men, for the youngest students, more advanced students, as well as university students. These publications furnish a record of the skills thought to be essential at the turn of the previous century.

Kepler and Wiles: Models of Perseverance
Paul Shotsberger
A recounting of the work of Kepler and Wiles, exemplars of great minds who made a tangible impact on the field of mathematics but who had to overcome seemingly insurmountable roadblocks.

The Evolutionary Character of Mathematics
Richard Davitt
This article advocates Grabiner's UDED paradigm [use-discover-explore-define] as a tool for teachers' own acquisition of authentic historical accounts of the evolution of mathematical topics and as a pedagogical strategem for their students as well.

Mathematicians Are Human Too
James Lightner
Fascinating stories about mathematicians and their interesting lives. It shows that mathematicians are human beings with peculiar foibles and personality quirks just like the rest of us.

From the Top of the Mountain
Donald Smith
Demonstration that mathematics is a changing science through an in-depth look at the history of the development of logarithms. It also serves as a reminder that we must continue to remember and appreciate the efforts and contributions of past mathematicians.

The Role of History in a Mathematics Class
Gerald Marshall, Beverly Rich
This article argues that history has a vital role to play in the math classroom: it prompts teachers and students to think and talk about mathematics in meaningful ways; it enriches the curriculum; demythologizes mathematics; and promotes communicating, connecting, and valuing mathematics.

Benoit Mandelbrot: The Euclid of Fractal Geometry
Dane Camp
This article cites Mandelbrot as an exemplar of one who learned the language of the universe -- mathematics -- biding his time until he could employ his knowledge both as a means of creative expression and as a tool for comprehending the intricacies of the world around us.

Felix Klein and the NCTM's Standards: A Mathematician Considers Mathematics Education
Kim McComas
A discussion of the parallels between Klein's position at the forefront of a movement to reform mathematics education and that of the NCTM's Standards. A picture of Klein as an important historical figure who saw equal importance in studying pure mathematics, applying mathematics, and teaching mathematics.