Read one of the following books (for the longer ones, a few chapters will do), and write a summary of the main ideas:

Below is a list of possible projects for the writing project.    Each student will choose one project.  Papers should be typed, approximately 4-5 pages in length, with references appropriately cited.  Grading is based on overall writing quality as well as relevant mathematical content.

Projects submitted after the due date are subject to significant late penalties.

  1. Read one of the following books (for the longer ones, a few chapters will do), and write a summary of the main ideas:

Euler’s Gem  by David Richeson
The Man who Knew Infinity; a Life of the Genius Ramanujan  by Robert Kanigel

The Geometry of Art and Life by Matila Ghyka
The Divine Proportion by H.E. Huntley

The Man who Loved Only Numbers – the Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for
Mathematical Truth
,   by Paul Hoffman
Geometry and the Visual Arts
by Dan Pedoe
Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos: Discovering a New Aesthetic of Art, Science,
and Nature
  by John Briggs

The Fractal Geometry of Nature by Benoit B. Mandelbrot
Music and Mathematics: From Pythagoras to Fractals by John Fauvel, Raymond
Flood and Robin Wilson

On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Thompson

 Fractal Cosmos: The Art of Mathematical Design by Jeff Berkowitz
 Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

             Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid  by Douglas R. Hofstadter

  1. Write a “mathematical biography” on one of the leading figures of Mathematics. Research the life and work of one, and write a paper about him/her.  AT MOST one third of your paper should concern their biography.  The remainder should show discuss one or more of their major contributions to the field.  Note that you also should refrain from giving a list of results – rather, the purpose of this paper is to show what you learned about their work.  At least one concept must be explained in your own words.   Suggestions include: Godel, Erdos, Nash, Cantor, Euler, Leibniz, Pascal, Fermat, Gauss.   A good place to start here would be the MacTutor History of Mathematics site:
  2. Do one of the projects from the text (all are in the front Tannenbaum section):
    p. 173,   1:  Original Sources  (Euler’s original Konigsberg bridge paper)
  3. 237,  2:  Computing with DNA
    p. 236,   3:  Social Networks and Privacy
    p. 387,   2:  Fractals and Music
    p. 387,   3:  The Fractal Murders
    p. 411,   1:  Fibonacci Numbers, the Golden Ratio, and Phyllotaxis
    p. 411,   2:  The Golden Ratio in Art, Architecture and Music
  4. Write a brief history on the Four-Color problem. This report should include a discussion of the role of Graph Theory, in particular graph colorings.

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