Dr. Toke Knudsen, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics, presented a paper, entitled “Medieval India’s Solution to the Pell Equation as a Classroom Project,” at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta, GA, January 4-7, 2017.
The talk was on a classroom module, entitled The Pell equation in Indian Mathematics, which Dr. Knudsen and Dr. Keith Jones (Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics, SUNY Oneonta) developed as project writers for the successful NSF grant TRIUMPHS (Transforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources; see http://webpages.ursinus.edu/nscoville/TRIUMPHS.html for more information). The project focuses on how to solve quadratic indeterminate equations in integers by examining original sources on how this was done in medieval India. The talk outlined the work on building the module as well as a report on how the module was tested in a Number Theory course (MATH 309) at SUNY Oneonta in Fall 2016.
As the Program Coordinator for the Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA’s) Special Interest Group for History of Mathematics (HOM SIGMAA), Dr. Knudsen also organized HOM SIGMAA’s reception, business meeting, and guest lecture (given by Dr. Glen Van Brummelen, Quest University) on January 4.
Furthermore, Dr. Knudsen and Dr. Lawrence D’Antonio (Ramapo College) organized a session at the conference, entitled MAA Session on Preserving and Writing the History of Mathematics Departments. The session, which had 12 speakers, ran on January 6. Focusing on writing and preserving the history of local mathematics departments, the session featured both methodological talks as well as reports on specific undertakings to write a departmental history. The session was successful and received good and positive comments and feedback.
The Joint Mathematics Meetings is the largest and most prestigious mathematics conference in the United States.