Chapter

A Mathematical World on Paper

in Masters of Theory

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780226873749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226873763 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226873763.003.0003
A Mathematical World on Paper

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Maxwell's rare allusion to the material culture of mathematical training provides an appropriate point of departure for this chapter. Historians of science have recently begun to explore the remarkable changes in scientific practice wrought by the laboratory revolution of the late Victorian era, yet very little scholarly attention has so far been paid to the changes in theoretical practice wrought by the introduction of written examinations in mathematics a century earlier. This chapter explores the impact and development of paper-based learning and examination in Cambridge from the perspective of some of the students first exposed to such practices. Their testimony is especially valuable as it reveals both the profound shift in student sensibilities that accompanied the introduction of written examinations as well as the change in the content of undergraduate studies prompted by the new culture of working on paper.

Keywords: mathematical; Cambridge; examination; paper; laboratory

Chapter.  26204 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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