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Lecture Information

Instructor:  Adam Bowers
Time:  8:00-8:50 am (MWF)
Location:  CENTR 105
Email:  abowers
Office Hours:  (click here)

TA Sections Email Meeting Room
Oisin Parkinson-Coombs A01 oparkins APM 6402
Nandagopal Ramachandran A02 naramach APM 6402

Discussion sections meet on Thursday. (Meeting Times)
Add "@ucsd.edu" to the given username to obtain your Instructor/TA's email address.
TA Office Hours:  (click here)

Course Information

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will introduce students to the origins of many topics that they may encounter during a first-year mathematics course. Focus will be on the mathematical development (rather than the mathematicians themselves), but some biographical information will be given. (Note: Topics of Math 163 may vary from year to year.)

REQUIRED TEXT: Journey through Mathematics, Enrique A. González-Velasco, Springer, 2011.

From the back of the textbook: "This book offers an accessible and in-depth look at some of the most important episodes of two thousand years of mathematical history. Beginning with trigonometry and moving on through logarithms, complex numbers, infinite series, and calculus, this book profiles some of the ... crucial contributors to modern day mathematics ... [A] knowledge of first-year calculus is the only prerequisite. But undergraduate and graduate students alike will appreciate this glimpse into the fascinating process of mathematical creation."

NOTE: The book (Journey through Mathematics) is published by Springer and is available to UCSD students electronically for free through SpringerLink. In order to get the text for free, you have to access that URL either using a computer on campus or using a VPN.

UCSD students can also purchase a MyCopy print on demand softcover version for $24.95 (USD).


OTHER BOOKS: This is a selection of well-known books on mathematics and the people behind mathematics.

History of Calculus:

  • The History of the Calculus and Its Conceptual Development by C. Boyer (1959).
  • The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue by W. Dunham (2008).
  • The Historical Development of the Calculus by C.H. Edwards, Jr. (1979).

General History of Mathematics:

  • A History of Mathematics by C. Boyer and U. Merzbach (2011).
  • Mathematics and Its History by J. Stillwell (2010).
  • The Search for Certainty: A Journey Through the History of Mathematics, 1800-2000 by F.J. Swetz (editor) (2012).
  • The European Mathematical Awakening: A Journey Through the History of Mathematics from 1000 to 1800 by F.J. Swetz (editor) (2013).

History of Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry:

  • Non-Euclidean Geometry: A Critical and Historical Study of its Development by R. Bonola (2010). [Originally published as La Geometria non-Euclidea in 1912. The older versions of this book are in the public domain, which means it can be freely downloaded from many sources. Here is a copy, for example.]
  • Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometries: Development and History by M.J. Greenberg (2007).
  • The thirteen books of Euclid's Elements by T.L. Heath (translation and commentary). [This book was originally published in 1908 and is now in the public domain, which means that it can be downloaded freely from many sources. You can get Volume I from here, for example.]
  • Euclid Vindicated from Every Blemish by G. Saccheri. Translated by G.B. Halsted and L. Allegri; edited and annotated by V. De Risi. (2014). [Originally published in 1733 as Euclides ab omni naevo vindicatus, often translated as Euclid Freed of Every Flaw.]
  • An Axiomatic Approach to Geometry by F. Borceux (2014).
  • Geometry by Its History by A. Ostermann and G. Wanner (2012).
  • Geometry: Plane and Fancy by David A. Singer (1998).

Office Hours

This calendar includes lecture times, office hours, and review session times (if any), and discussion section times.