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Questions tagged [education]

This tag can be used for two purposes, either for resources for learning, or for to learn more about a scientist's/mathematician's educational background.

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What does Dijkstra mean with his title "on the cruelty of really teaching computing science"?

That's EWD 1036. What does he mean by "really teaching"? And also, what is the cruelty implied in "really teaching" it? The title is a bit obscure after you read his paper. Such ...
user21157's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
287 views

Was such advanced content on set theory taught in American elementary schools back in 1965?

The image attached is a comic strip from "Peanuts," dating back to 1965. It portrays Sally, the younger sister of Charlie Brown, throwing a tantrum over learning set theory in elementary ...
enjin2000's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
360 views

What did the study plan of an early 20th century mathematics undergraduate program look like?

I am interested in what subjects and activities mathematics undergrads were involved in the beginning of the 20th century. Most subjects mathematics majors study at an intermediate and advanced level ...
Kham Bodrogi's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
229 views

Why did the development of major Mathematics in America only start after 1900s?

America was found in 1492, yet the big names of American mathematics only come up later than 1900s. I also get a feeling that as years went on since 1900, the focus was more on abstract mathematics, ...
Babu's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
305 views

When was the calculus first part of college curriculum in USA?

Or I guess the Colonies, if it happened before 1776? I know that mathematics tended to be both applied and emphasized things like taking fifth roots. Also, I think long ago high school and college may ...
releseabe's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
114 views

What are the second and third "Hebrew Algebras" Mary Everest Boole refer to?

In the book "Philosophy and Fun of Algebra", Mary Everest Boole has a chapter dedicated to what she calls "the first Hebrew algebra" (Chapter 6). She later refers to the "...
Seno's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

Reference database for recreational math problems and math puzzles?

Recreational math books contain duplicates for problems. I think, classical examples are SEND + MORE = MONEY and Zebra puzzles. (Though I can't point exact books ...
danbst's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
2 answers
445 views

Did Berkeley's criticism of infinitesimals hobble calculus pedagogy?

I recently read an article that discussed--rather briefly--the issues of infinitesimals and the criticism of them by Berkeley. The author of the article (which, of course, I cannot find, as I read it ...
Eric Snyder's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
111 views

What books did Lavoisier read?

I am interested in Antoine Lavoisier's intellectual formation/background. Is there any available list of the books which Antoine Lavoisier read, especially ones on science/mathematics/philosophy (even ...
AlexM's user avatar
  • 13
0 votes
0 answers
102 views

Who invented the first pronunciation system for binary numbers that is roughly analogous to how we pronounce everyday decimal numbers?

Who invented the first pronunciation system for binary numbers that is roughly analogous to how we pronounce everyday decimal numbers (by which I mean how 220 is pronounced 'two hundred twenty')? ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
230 views

Blackboards as math tech!

A question about the history of the maths classroom (which I hope isn't off topic). The idea of using a chalky stone to write graffiti diagrams on a dark plastered wall (marks that could be washed off ...
Peter Smith's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
726 views

What dialect of ancient Greek was taught to natural philosophers?

Ancient Greek had a large impact on scientific and mathematical language and thinking leading into the Enlightenment period and beyond. But "ancient Greek" could refer to any dialect ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
78 views

How has the degree of mathematisation in physics university education in the U.S. changed in the 20th century?

I'm mostly interested in the degree of mathematisation with which physics was taught. Intuitively, I believe to recall that Europe has had a long tradition of mathematical physics, while physics ...
Joe Wolf's user avatar
6 votes
6 answers
6k views

Where did the false "equal transit-time" explanation of lift originate from?

It's supposedly a "widely circulated" false claim that wings generate lift because of their asymmetric shape, forcing air above to travel faster so that they meet up on the trailing edge at the same ...
eugenhu's user avatar
  • 191
2 votes
4 answers
383 views

Are there any sources of mathematicians talking about their research methods?

I recall reading this article that was written to explain how Descartes read philosophy effectively. I am wondering if such analogous tips have been made by past mathematicians?
Darkwisp's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
129 views

What were the typical ways students were taught the elements when it remained the prime textbook of mathematics?

In modern textbooks, students are greeted with plenty of exercises. Usually they are also organized in such a way that you have examples and pointers to what concepts are most important. The elements ...
Darkwisp's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
22k views

How long has the order of priority of arithmetical operations been widely taught in high schools?

Browsing Facebook, I often come across posts like this, to test peoples' understanding of order of operations. This inevitably prompts a deluge of answers that either misunderstand the concept or ...
Joel Roberts's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
199 views

At what point did Calculus become a required field of study for aspiring scientists?

Nowadays, it's nearly impossible to obtain a university degree in a scientific discipline without completing at least some basic coursework in Calculus, and often times advanced courses are required. ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

What algebra problem did Serge Lang give to calculus students?

Joel Spolsky tells this story: Serge Lang, a math professor at Yale, used to give his Calculus students a fairly simple algebra problem on the first day of classes, one which almost everyone could ...
J.G.'s user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
461 views

Was the value of the mole invented or discovered in chemistry?

For example, $\pi$ is not an invention, it is a discovery which was natural, that is ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But when we define a meter it is not a natural value it is ...
Remy's user avatar
  • 21
4 votes
0 answers
163 views

Earliest drawings of the plots of trigonometric functions

[Even though this question may seem as a duplicate of this question about the History of sine function, I'd like to ask it again - with a more specific title and a more specific focus (on specific ...
Hans-Peter Stricker's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
379 views

Seeking numbers of German mathematics professors in 1890

Is there a source collecting data on the numbers of Mathematics professors (I mean with rank of Ordinarius, or ordentlicher Professor) in German Universities around 1890? To see how clearly both the ...
Colin McLarty's user avatar
8 votes
7 answers
2k views

Seeking sources: Catholic church and the development of mathematics

I teach mathematics at a Catholic liberal arts college. This semester, I am teaching Real Analysis and I want students to complete a semester-long research project that extends beyond the course ...
Brendan W. Sullivan's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
210 views

What was taught in 19th century European electricity and/or magnetism courses?

What topics were taught in late-19th century electricity and/or magnetism courses in Europe?
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,371
0 votes
0 answers
95 views

How was physics taught in the past (e.g., in the 19th century)?

Were there physics teaching aids used in the past? Or did professors just basically follow the textbook the students read? In other words: How was physics was taught in the past (e.g., in the 19th ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,371
15 votes
1 answer
430 views

What kind of mathematical education did Leibniz have?

It doesn't seem that he began his life in mathematics. Does anyone know how it came to be ? What did he read ?
copper's user avatar
  • 993
12 votes
3 answers
304 views

When were problem sets included in Science/math textbooks?

If you look at old books like Euclid, and Archimedes it seems that there weren't any problem set exercises. They just presented the all information. There were no "end chapter" problems. In short, it ...
displayname's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
4k views

Examples of good research mathematicians that did poorly in exams

Are there any examples of mathematicians have produced good research, having done poorly in mathematics exams?
Yes's user avatar
  • 403
20 votes
2 answers
22k views

How did Ramanujan learn to do mathematics?

Did Ramanujan have any formal training in mathematics? I read that he did not. Then how did he learn to do mathematics? Mathematics does not come from instinct. You have to learn the basic facts. How ...
Soham's user avatar
  • 911
5 votes
1 answer
293 views

Where can I learn more about lesser known mathematicians?

I'm reaching the point in my mathematical career that the names aren't so well known. Everybody knows that Euler was great and Gauss was even better, and it's not hard to learn that if Riemann died ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
160 views

History of computing/computation in higher education

A Google search for the first academic computer science program a couple of years ago cited a half-dozen programs in France and England that were considered proto-computer science. Current searches ...
user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
105 views

Physics Curricula of 19th Century French Universities?

What were the physics curricula for 19th century French universities? I am looking for something akin to this distribution of courses at the École Polytechnique, but for other French universities, ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,371
8 votes
3 answers
10k views

Are there any famous physicists that never went to university?

With the restriction of physicists after the year 1900, were there any self-taught physicists that achieved fame without having gone to university?
an offer can't refuse's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
3k views

When and why did the concept of relativistic mass become outdated?

While browsing on Physics Stack Exchange, I discovered numerous posts (these two are examples) which assert that relativistic mass is an outdated concept used in older textbooks. Looking through my ...
Cicero's user avatar
  • 561
22 votes
3 answers
16k views

Why were 20th Century German scientists so impressive?

German (and Austrian) scientists of the late 19th - early 20th centuries seem to have been the backbone of most of modern physics - namely quantum theory/mechanics. The following are a few predominant ...
galois's user avatar
  • 724
45 votes
3 answers
5k views

When exactly (and why) did matrices become a part of the undergraduate curriculum?

Let me tell what I know about this. It is well-known that Heisenberg invented matrix multiplication himself, in his great paper that is considered part of the foundation of quantum mechanics. This was ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar