Due Dates:

Project must be approved by: Monday, October 7. NOTE:  If you haven't gotten a subject approved by this date, you can NOT get credit for this project.
Rough Draft Due: Monday, November 18.  This is optional.   If you give me a draft by this date, I will "pre-grade" it for you so you can make any necessary revisions before turning in your final version.
Final Version: Monday, December 2.  Papers will not be accepted after this date.

There is one optional extra credit project you may do for this course, which is to write a 5-10 page research paper on a math related topic of your choice. Possible topics include biographies, histories of a concept (such as negative numbers or infinity), and present day concerns (such as bank fraud, state lotteries, tax laws). You may look in our text for ideas, see the list below, or use any ideas you have on your own, but you must get your topic pre-approved by me.

You do not need a group for this paper. You may do it by yourself, or with anyone you want up to 4 people (not necessarily your original group members) as long as everyone participates fully. I expect a longer, more involved project if there are more people working on it.

Topic Ideas Sources Referencing  Plagiarism  Website citations

Some topic ideas

History and development of:

quadratic equation

cubic equation

number systems

conic sections

Diophantine equations

complex numbers

mathematical symbols

negative numbers

Mathematics used for:

planetary motion

space flight



computer science

number systems

Eqyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Hindu, etc. mathematics

Non-Euclidean geometry

Golden mean


Three classical Greek problems:

squaring the circle

cubing the square

trisecting an angle

teaching mathematics

women in mathematics

Anything you are interested in, or wondered where it came from – get ok from me first.

Biographies – emphasis must be on mathematical contributions, not just life story.

Descartes, Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa), Euclid, Agnesci, Cardano, Archimedes, Tartaglia, Apollonius, Recorde, Euler, Al Khowarizmi, Fermat, Pascal (Blaise, not Renee!) etc.

You must use a minimum of three sources, excluding encyclopedias. You may use encyclopedias (strongly recommend you do), but must still use at least three additional sources.

Source "starters":

Dictionary of Scientific Biography (required)

A History of Mathematics – Boyer

History of Mathematics – Gittleman

Men of Mathematics – Bell

Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times – Kline

A Short History of Mathematics – Sanford

History of Mathematics – Smith

Science Awakening – van der Waerden

Use the Bibliographies of any useful books and encyclopedias as sources for further information.


Scientific America

School and Society

Air and Space


Scripa Mathematica


The Mathematics Teacher

Once again, use the bibliography of useful articles as a further reference.

Also, the reference librarian is very helpful. For example, there is an equivalent to the Guide to Periodic Literature, but just for math and science topics, which can be shown to you.


Some guidelines: These are research papers and they must be properly referenced even if it means ten references in a single paragraph! I will accept any style of referencing as long as it is consistent and somewhere includes complete bibliographical information and page numbers. I prefer two styles in particular. One is endnotes, with superscript numbers in the text, with short form (author/title/page number) references at the end of each section, and with a complete bibliography. The other form is a complete NUMBERED bibliography at the end, and references in the text in the form ( [12], page 234).

All pages should include the title of the paper and the names of all group members. Page numbers should have the form "2 of 9". There should be a title page and a blank end page. The papers must be typed, preferably 12 point or larger, and double-spaced except for long quotations which should be indented and single-spaced. Use a spell checker, and proof read, proof read, proof read, especially for homonyms such as there and their.

The Writing Center can be a big help to you. The people at the Writing Center can help you reference properly, even out your exposition, and proof read.

Internet resources may only be used with prior permission from me and must be properly documented. "Cut and pasting" material from the internet very often constitutes plagiarism. Doing this can get you a failing grade for the class, and can even get you kicked out of school.

NOTE: If the paper is not properly footnoted and/or does not include a complete bibliography you a) will get NO CREDIT whatsoever for the paper, and b) you may be subject to disciplinary measures for plagiarism, so reference carefully.

See the Student Handbook for St. Michael's Academic Integrity Policies (starting on Page 40) , and see for information on what is legitimate paraphrasing, and what constitutes plagiarism.

If you do get permission to use any website(s), will take you to information about proper referencing.




The guidelines below were take from:   in 1998.  (This site is no longer active).


Documenting Sources from the World Wide Web

These guidelines on MLA documentation style are the only ones available on the Internet that are authorized by the Modern Language Association of America.

The recommendations in the fourth edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers on documenting online databases (sec. 4.9) have been revised to reflect evolving computer technology. The new recommendations on online sources are explained in detail in the second edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (1998). The fifth edition of the MLA Handbook, scheduled for publication in spring 1999, will incorporate these revisions. The new guidelines that cover the World Wide Web are summarized below.

Sources on the World Wide Web that students and scholars use in their research include scholarly projects, reference databases, the texts of books, articles in periodicals, and professional and personal sites. Entries in a works-cited list for such sources contain as many items from the list below as are relevant and available. Following this list are sample entries for some common kinds of Web sources.

1.Name of the author, editor, compiler, or translator of the source (if available and relevant), reversed for alphabetizing and followed by an abbreviation, such as ed., if appropriate

2.Title of a poem, short story, article, or similar short work within a scholarly project, database, or periodical (in quotation marks); or title of a posting to a discussion list or forum (taken from the subject line and put in quotation marks), followed by the description Online posting

3.Title of a book (underlined)

4.Name of the editor, compiler, or translator of the text (if relevant and if not cited earlier), preceded by the appropriate abbreviation, such as Ed.

5.Publication information for any print version of the source

6.Title of the scholarly project, database, periodical, or professional or personal site (underlined); or, for a professional or personal site with no title, a description such as Home page

7.Name of the editor of the scholarly project or database (if available)

8.Version number of the source (if not part of the title) or, for a journal, the volume number, issue number, or other identifying number

9.Date of electronic publication, of the latest update, or of posting

10.For a work from a subscription service, the name of the service and--if a library is the subscriber--the name and city (and state abbreviation, if necessary) of the library

11.For a posting to a discussion list or forum, the name of the list or forum

12.The number range or total number of pages, paragraphs, or other sections, if they are numbered 13.Name of any institution or organization sponsoring or associated with the Web site

14.Date when the researcher accessed the source

15.Electronic address, or URL, of the source (in angle brackets); or, for a subscription service, the URL of the service's main page (if known) or the keyword assigned by the service


Scholarly Project

Victorian Women Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willett.

Apr. 1997. Indiana U. 26 Apr. 1997 <http://>.



Professional Site

Portuguese Language Page. U of Chicago. 1 May 1997



Personal Site

Lancashire, Ian. Home page. 1 May 1997 <http://>.



Nesbit, E[dith]. Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism.

London, 1908. Victorian Women Writers Project.

Ed. Perry Willett. Apr. 1997. Indiana U. 26 Apr.

1997 <




Nesbit, E[dith]. "Marching Song." Ballads and Lyrics

of Socialism. London, 1908. Victorian Women

Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willett. Apr. 1997.

Indiana U. 26 Apr. 1997 <



Article in a Reference Database

"Fresco." Britannica Online. Vers. 97.1.1. Mar. 1997.

Encyclopaedia Britannica. 29 Mar. 1997 <http://>.


Article in a Journal

Flannagan, Roy. "Reflections on Milton and Ariosto."

Early Modern Literary Studies 2.3 (1996):

16 pars. 22 Feb. 1997 <



Article in a Magazine

Landsburg, Steven E. "Who Shall Inherit the Earth?"

Slate 1 May 1997. 2 May 1997 <http://>.


Work from a Subscription Service

Koretz, Gene. "Economic Trends: Uh-Oh, Warm Water."

Business Week 21 July 1997: 22. Electric Lib.

Sam Barlow High School Lib., Gresham, OR. 17 Oct.

1997 <>.


"Table Tennis." Compton's Encyclopedia Online. Vers.

2.0. 1997. America Online. 4 July 1998. Keyword:



Posting to a Discussion List

Merrian, Joanne. "Spinoff: Monsterpiece Theatre."

Online posting. 30 Apr. 1994. Shaksper: The Global

Electronic Shakespeare Conference. 27 Aug. 1997




In parenthetical references in the text, works on the World Wide Web are cited just like printed works. For any type of source, you must include information in your text that directs readers to the correct entry in the works-cited list (see the MLA Handbook, sec. 5.2). Web documents generally do not have fixed page numbers or any kind of section numbering. If your source lacks numbering, you have to omit numbers from your parenthetical references. If your source includes fixed page numbers or section numbering (such as numbering of paragraphs), cite the relevant numbers. Give the appropriate abbreviation before the numbers: "(Moulthrop, pars. 19-20)." (Pars. is the abbreviation for paragraphs. Common abbreviations are listed in the MLA Handbook, sec. 6.4.) For a document on the Web, the page numbers of a printout should normally not be cited, because the pagination may vary in different printouts.