Math 128: History of Mathematics in the Islamic World, Spring 2024

Instructor: Noah Aydin
Office/Phone: RBH 319 / 740-427-5674
Office/Student Hours: MWF: 9:10-10am; TR: 9:40-11am and by appointment.
Here is my weekly schedule . Look at my schedule and request an appoint by email if you need to see me outside regular student (office) hours. I'm usually available during the white slots.
Textbooks:  1. Episodes in Mathematics of Medieval Islam, 2nd ed (2016), by J. L. Berggren
                    2. Islamic Science and Making of the European Renaissance, by G. Saliba
                    3. First Scientist: Ibn al-Haytham, by B. Steffens
                    4. The Prisoner of Al-Hakim, by B. Steffens
Room & Time: Hayes 215, MWF 9:10-10 am, Moodle Page for the Course, Google Drive with Resources

Course Description
This course examines an important and interesting part of the history of mathematics, and more generally, the intellectual history of human kind: history of mathematics in the Islamic world. Some of the most fundamental notions in modern mathematics have their roots in this part of the history such as the modern number system, the fields of algebra and trigonometry,  the concept of algorithm, foundations of optics, and the scientific method. These contributions are generally not known, not only in the west but in the Islamic World either. Moreover, there are commonly held misconceptions about the subject. In addition to studying specific contributions of medieval Islamic scholars in the areas of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in some details, we will also examine the context in which the Islamic science and mathematics flourished, and the role of religion this development. We will discuss the reasons behind the lack of awareness in the subject. We will examine the evidence from recent research that challenges and refutes many of the commonly held misconceptions (the Classical Narrative). The rise of Islamic science and its interactions with other cultures (e.g. Greek, Indian, and European Renaissance) tells us much about the larger issues of humanities. Thus, this course has both a substantial mathematical component (~60-65 %) and a significant history and social science component (~35-40%), bringing together three disciplines: Mathematics, History and Religion.  It also has a  significant Community Engaged Learning (CEL) component. The culminating event for the course will be live presentations of finals projects at an Islamic Community Center in Columbus. It is part of the Islamic Civilization and Cultures program, and fulfills the QR requirement. No prerequisite is needed beyond high school algebra and geometry, but a solid knowledge in algebra and geometry is needed.

Learning Goals and Purpose of Public Presentations    

AdviceFrom2018Class    AdviceFrom2019Class   AdviceFrom2020Class   AdviceFrom2021Class

Some Useful Online Resources
Digital Materials From Summer 2020 
The MacTutor of History of Mathematics Archive 
The MacTutor Islamic Mathematics 
Biographies Islamic Mathematicians  
Muslim Heritage Web Site

Some Useful Documentaries (freely available online):
Empire of Faith: A PBS documentary Part 2 Science in Islamic Civilization, (3:30-13:25) or Full documentary
Science and Islam a 3-part BBC documentary Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, or Full.
When Moors Ruled in Europe by historian Bettany Hughes
Ladder of the Sky: Iranian TV series on the life of Al-Kashi

Course Calendar, Hmw and Reading Assignments

General Course Information and Syllabus

Teaching Philosophy and Expectations

Information About Final Project

Math Dept Guidelines for Healthy Collaboration

Math Dept Class Attendance Policy