Famous Problems in Mathematics

The course will attempt to foster an appreciation of the history, the personalities and the content of different areas of mathematics by means of a study of some specific problems which have exercised the minds of mathematicians over the centuries. The problems will range from ancient to recent times and will be selected from the fields of algebra, analysis, geometry, number theory, set theory, and foundations of mathematics.

The course will deal wih mathematical ideas but in the context of mathematical techniques. Philosophical issues in the develoment of mathematics will also be discussed.

The final grade will be based on term work (assignments, class test(s), and possibly presentations) worth 70%, and a final examination worth 30%.

There will be no text for the course but many references will be provided. Students may get a flavor for the course by consulting the following books:

P. Davis & R. Hersh, The Mathematical Experience. W. Dunham, Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics. H. Eves, Great Moments in Mathematics.