This course studies the historical development of geometry from its origins in the ancient world, through the emergence of non-Euclidean geometry in the nineteenth century. Students consider some of the consequences of non-Euclidean geometry on how we view mathematical truth. They then select one part of this discussion to explore further, leading to a thoughtful and carefully researched paper on some aspect of the story: A description of one part of the historical development of geometry, a discussion of the impact of non-Euclidean geometry on our understanding of mathematical truth, or a biography of one of the mathematicians involved. While mathematical proof is not expected of class participants, students would be best prepared by having taken a course in geometry at the high school level. Affiliate department: Mathematics and Computer Science.
Prerequisites: SSI2 enrollment requires completion of SSI1 seminar