- Comparison of early tertiary mathematics in USA and Korea
- Lee, Sang-Gu ; Seol, Han-Guk ; Ham, Yoon-Mee ;
- Communications of Mathematical Education, volume 23, issue 4, 2009, Pages 977~998
Abstract
In this article, we give a comparative study on the last 300 years of USA and Korean tertiary mathematics. The first mathematics classes in United States were offered before July, 1638, but the real founding of tertiary mathematics courses was in 1640 when Henry Dunster assumed the duties of the presidency at Harvard. President Dunster read arithmetics and geometry on Mondays and Tuesdays to the third year students during the first three quarters, and astronomy in the last quarter. So tertiary mathematics education in United States began at Harvard which is the oldest college in USA. After 230 years since then, Benjamin Peirce in 1870 made a major and first American contribution to mathematics and got an attention from European mathematicians. Major change on the role of Harvard mathematics from teaching to research made by G.D. Birkhoff when he joined as an assistant professor in 1912. Tertiary mathematics education in Korea started long before Chosun Dynasty. But it was given to only small number of government actuarial officers. Modern mathematics education of tertiary level in Korea was given at Sungkyunkwan, Ewha, Paichai, and Soongsil. But all college level education opportunity, particularly in mathematics, was taken over by colonial government after 1920. And some technical and normal schools offered some tertiary mathematics courses. There was no college mathematics department in Korea until 1945. After the World War II, the first college mathematics department was established, and Rimhak Ree in 1949 made a major and first Korean contribution to modern mathematics, and later found Ree group. He got an attention from western mathematicians for the first time as a Korean. It can be compared with Benjamin Peirce's contribution for USA.