SCI307: History of the Mathematical Sciences


SCI307: History of the Mathematical Sciences: From Antiquity to the Present

Key details

Accredited towardsBachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts
Unit typeElective unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
Offered inSemester 1
Tuition feeLearn more



Mathematics, a cornerstone of natural philosophical thought in ancient Babylonian, Greek and Roman civilisations, became also an integral part in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, of a holistic view of life, including moral and political philosophy. The search for mathematical harmonies in nature extends to ideals of societal order and rational understandings of man’s place in the universe. Consequently, some of Europe’s first universities taught pure and applied sciences as part of a liberal arts education. Arabic and Christian schools and philosophers of the late medieval and early modern Western world also developed specific applications for the practical mathematical sciences, such as astronomy, navigation, and engineering. The results of advanced mathematical techniques were evident in the exploration of new lands and construction of some of the world’s most enduring and magnificent structures. Today, mathematics is still regarded by scientists of almost all disciplines as a fundamental component in the search for natural knowledge. This unit explores the ways in which mathematics has been used and sustained in the history of Western tradition as a key component for understanding humanity and its relationship with the natural world.


Learning outcomes

On completion of the subject students will be able to:

  1. identify the ways in which practical and pure mathematics has been considered and practiced in Western tradition;
  2. evaluate the relevance of the mathematical arts in modern art, architecture, music and theoretical sciences;
  3. comprehend and analyse the role of mathematics in the historical and continued search for natural knowledge
  4. comprehend and analyse the relevance of mathematics to the humane studies;
  5. write concise logical essays, with the appropriate use of referencing and bibliography in accordance with academic conventions;
  6. exercise and improve oral communication skills; and
  7. confidently and constructively participate in group work and tutorial events by undertaking required readings and contributing with clarity and coherence



Interested in other Science units?

SCI303: The History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
SCI304: The Darwinian Revolution
SCI305: Human Biology I
SCI306: Human Biology II
SCI307: History of the Mathematical Sciences – From Antiquity to the Present
SCI308: Introduction to Formal Logic



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