Impacts of a Unique Course on the History of Mathematics in the Islamic World - Changes to the Course and Conclusion

Nuh Aydin (Kenyon College)

Changes to the Course

I plan to make a few changes to the History of Mathematics in the Islamic World course in the next offering in Fall 2017. First, there is now a long-awaited second edition of Berggren's textbook [3]. He has corrected mistakes in the first edition and added more material; notably, contributions of the western part of the Islamic world to mathematics. I plan to use the second edition [3] in Fall 2017. Steffens has written a novel about Ibn al-Haytham [26], which I plan to incorporate as well. As noted above, the final project in the course consists of two parts: a paper and a presentation. For the presentation, students have had two options: a talk or a poster. Now, I will add a third option of digital storytelling (a video). I got this idea when I attended a digital storytelling workshop recently and tried making a video that told the story of Ibn al-Haytham. I think some students will like this idea. I also plan to have students present their final projects at the Islamic Community Center in Columbus again. This time around, I will try to arrange all the logistics in summer before the semester starts.


Teaching this new History of Mathematics in the Islamic World course has been profoundly influential on my scholarly life and it has helped many people to better understand and appreciate a chapter in the history of science that has usually been inadequately or misleadingly represented. It is clear that there is a great need for more academic research in this field as well as a great need to disseminate available information to the general public. More of this material can and should be taught in secondary schools, colleges, and universities. If you have an interest in learning more about the subject, raising awareness about it, or offering a similar course, I would be happy to work with you.