The mathematics that pure mathematicians do bears surprisingly little resemblance to elementary and high school mathematics, and its concerns are not the ones that most people would expect. Mathematicians work in and seek deep truths about a purely formal world, one that may or may not have much to do with the physical world we inhabit. In this seminar course, we’ll explore the nature and content of modern mathematical work: What, really, is mathematics? How do mathematicians think about their work? What are the barriers to entry into mathematical work? We’ll also touch on some philosophical issues: Do mathematical objects actually exist? Are mathematical systems discovered or created? Along the way, we’ll remain attentive to effective ways of presenting and discussing mathematical work in writing, and work toward developing our own skills in writing effectively about mathematics.
This course is a standalone module in the Mathematical Systems program. Contact the faculty to take this as a 4 credit module in that program.
There are no prerequisites for this course, though some prior work at the level of Calculus or Discrete Math will be helpful.
Mathematics, Education, Philosophy