The
Bard College Clemente Bridge Course in the Humanities

Codman Square Health
Center, Spring 2005

First
Assignment: Mathematical Autobiography (Automathography)

due in class or by email to mailto:joan.lukas@umb.edu by February 17.

ÒAutomathographyÓ is a word
made up by the mathematician Paul Halmos as the subtitle of his autobiography, __I
Want to be a Mathematician: An
Automathography__, Springer Verlag, 1985. Of course, not everyone wants to be a mathematician
(or even wants to have anything to do with mathematics) but several people
teaching courses involving mathematics have recently been asking their students
to write brief automathographies.

I am asking you to write one
as a way to begin our conversation about mathematics. Your automathography should be about two pages and touch on
as many of these questions as you can:

1. What is your earliest
mathematical memory?

2. Reflecting on your math
experiences, which ones stand out in your mind? Why?

3. Can you describe a
significant math learning experience?
This can be positive or negative and occurring at school or home.

4. Please describe any
person/situation who/which influenced your development mathematically. Again this may be positive or negative.

5. Is there something you
would wish to change about your mathematics education? How?

6. What is your attitude to
mathematics today?

7. Is there a mathematical
topic that you wish you understood better?

8. Is there a topic you hope
we discuss in this course? A topic you hope to avoid?

If thereÕs anything else youÕd
like me to know about your experience with or relationship to mathematics,
please include that as well.