MATH1601 Mathematics: from the Renaissance to Modern Day

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Science students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 1 elective
Cultural change has often been in tandem with progress in the development of art and science, and in particular, of mathematics. This unit examines some of the many influences of mathematics on abstract thought, conceptions of reality, the nature of truth and valid argument, and the development of science and technology. In everyday life, there are paradoxes and counter-intuitive phenomena that are best explained by mathematics, and we endeavour to take a journey that will explore the power of modern mathematical thinking in the modern world. Topics include: Renaissance mathematics, and in particular, the mathematics developed to understand graphical perspective in art; classical game theory; combinatorial game theory and network models; cryptography; correlation and causation. This unit assumes the student has little or no mathematical background.
Students are able to (1) acquire an improved understanding of mathematics, its cross-cultural background, and the place of mathematics in the modern world; (2) appreciate mathematics both for its difficulty and its cultural significance and diversity; (3) appreciate the relevance of mathematics to the modern world; (4) understand that appreciation of mathematics enables it to better contribute to Australia's economic growth; (5) have an awareness of contributions by other cultures, as well as their own, to scientific and engineering subjects; and (6) recognise how the language of mathematics enables the clarification of difficult ideas.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) tests (3 tests worth 10% each); and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor John Bamberg
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; practical classes: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.