Primary Historical Sources in Teaching and Research


David Pengelley,
New Mexico State University


Daniel E. Otero,
Xavier Univeristy

June 18-20, 2008
Xavier University,
Cincinnati, Ohio


OVERVIEW: Participants in this Short Course will learn about teaching with primary historical sources in mathematics, and will be given the opportunity to prepare some primary sources of their own choosing to use in their own classrooms. They will also see how reading, studying, and teaching with primary sources can lead to scholarship in history of mathematics. The co-leaders of this workshop each have almost two decades of experience teaching with primary historical sources in many courses and mathematical subjects at various undergraduate levels, and have presented and published extensively in this area.

There are many benefits to teaching with primary sources. It can capture the spark of discovery and motivate subsequent lines of inquiry, placing the learner close to the initial solution of problems that would eventually find resolution in modern concepts.
Minicourse participants will first be introduced to various primary source material that others have developed and used in undergraduate teaching, and model in groups the process of being students with these materials. Then participants will learn about the wealth of relevant materials available in libraries and through the internet, and begin their own investigations towards selecting and preparing primary sources for their teaching. With guidance from the minicourse leaders, each participant will go through cycles of work resulting in primary sources prepared for their own classes, culminating in presentations of the results to the whole group.

We will also visit the Rare Books Collection at the University of Cincinnati to see first-hand some old and rare books important in the history of mathematics (e.g., a 1546 printing of Campanus’ edition of Euclid’s Elements, a first Latin edition of Descartes’ Geometria from 1659, Jakob Bernoulli’s Ars Conjectandi from 1713, et al.). Evening social activities will also be planned.

Registration is $175.00. Limit 25 participants. Deadline: 19 May 2008
Participants should send a $50.00 deposit (checks made out to Xavier University) to

Daniel E. Otero
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH 45207-4441

Include contact information and name of home institution with your deposit.