New Math Department Courses Teach Culture

The UC Berkeley Department of Mathematics today announced its Fall 2006 Schedule of Classes, containing in it some surprising new course offerings. Alongside such bread-and-butter staples as Math 16B: “This Course is Integral to your Future” and Math 113: “I Can’t Believe we are Still Doing This” are exciting classes in the emerging field of “mathematical humanities.”

Department Chair Theodore Slaman characterized the new offerings as part of the faculty’s overall efforts to “stay relevant in a changing world.” He continued, “these courses are designed to point out to students the many ways in which math has an impact on history and culture, like that time Martin Luther King Jr. used calculus to integrate a school.”

Among the new courses for the semester are two new AC requirement courses, Math 39AC: “Mathematics in American History” which goes by the alternate title, “Multiplying by 3/5ths,” and Math 54AC: “Linear Algebra taught by a Cherokee.” Also planned is Upper Div Math 153: “How to talk to girls,” and, to help math majors pass all their requirements, Math 215: “Differential Topology R1A.”