Each paper submitted will be classed as "mathematical" or "historical".
At least one of your two papers must be mathematical (i.e., demonstrate
independent thought, not just reporting facts from sources).
A mathematical paper should be (just) as long as it needs to be to solve the
(For W students:) At least one of your papers should exceed
1000 words (about 5 pages).
A decent historical paper should be of that magnitude anyway.
Historical and mathematical papers will be graded by different rubrics:
Choice of topic
Correctness and depth
Mechanics (punctuation, etc.)
Don't expect perfect scores. In serious writing the threshold of
perfection is infinite.
In a historical paper I expect to see at least one reference to a
source document that is longer than the paper itself (i.e., not just
things like encyclopedia articles). Whether the referenced documents were
print or on-line is less important; but remember that Web items usually
have authors and titles, not just URLs, and need to be cited accordingly.
(Giving the date of access is also considered desirable, since the Web
changes constantly.) A "mathematical" paper may not need any references,
if it is self-contained.
References should be formatted as prescribed in the MAA Reference
Guide. This format is the standard one for most mathematical
journals. Pay particular attention to the instructions for Web pages and
other on-line items.
Note that in this style, bibliography items are numbered and
therefore should be cited in the text by numbers in brackets
(such as ""), not by, for example, author and year.
Choice of topic:
Any "major exercise" or "project" from the textbook is allowable,
with the qualifications below.
You can choose a topic from outside the book's lists, but it would be
prudent to consult me about it first.
In Ch. 1, major exercise 4 is harder than it looks. I'll accept a paper
that does 2 of the 3 parts (e.g., assumes (a) and uses it to prove (b) and
Henceforth I shall regard project 5 in Ch. 1 (Morley's theorem) to be
historical. (The solution is hard to work out but easy to find on the
web.) So, put some history into it. (One paper found and compared two
Ch. 1, project 13: Beware that Russell has been misquoted here (and
many other places). The correct quotation, which has different
connotations, is here.
In Ch. 2, regular exercises 14, 15, 16, and 19 are "major"
in my opinion
(hence suitable for papers).
In Ch. 3, major exercise 6 is quite long. Part (a) alone (done
well) makes a good 5-page paper.
All exercises in Ch. 7 are considered "major".
All essay topics in Ch. 8 are considered "major" (but some may also be
"historical"; consult me if you're not sure).
Your second paper should relate to Ch. 3 or later.
These major papers should be individual work. (The "Joint work"
policy is not a license to turn in a paper that is a clone of someone
else's.) Exception: Two (or more) different papers on closely related
topics that form a single project, with
a different author taking primary responsibility for each.
Exercises 5-8 of Chapter 4, pp. 202-205 (would result in 3 papers,
since the last part is easy). Or regular exercise 14 and
major exercise 3 in Chapter 2. Or essays 2 and 18 in Ch. 8.
Some procedural requests about written work (biweekly W papers as
well as term papers) are at the end of the lectures on Chapter 1.