Ten Lectures on Mathematical Culture

Lecturers: Gu Pei, Li Jun and Xiang Bing

Mathematics makes some people fascinated, but also makes some people down. Many people are afraid of mathematics but hope to improve their mathematical literacy. This course is open to students of all majors. With interesting topics, it will help you regain your interest in mathematics, understand mathematical thinking model and improve the thinking quality. Professor Gu Pei, the first national-level outstanding teacher, will share with you the mathematical culture feast and the charm of mathematics with lively language in this course.

Course Overview

Ten Lectures on Mathematical Culture is a general education course open to undergraduates and junior college students of all majors and the public. Although it is a mathematical course, it does not rigidly teach mathematics. Instead, it allows students to immerse themselves in various interesting situations and subtly improve students' mathematical literacy in an atmosphere of joint exploration. Both science and liberal art students will be benefited.

The teaching ideas of this course are as follows: first, introduce mathematical ideas, methods and spirit with the carrier of the history of mathematics, mathematical problems, mathematical knowledge, etc.; second, the level of mathematical knowledge involved is appropriate to explain mathematical ideas, so that students in all majors can understand and gain something; third, broaden students’ horizons, take everything into consideration, and introduce the history, current situation and the future of mathematics.

The curriculum strives to implement the idea of quality education, focusing not only on improving students' mathematical quality, but also on improving students' cultural and ideological quality. This course was chosen as National Excellent Course in 2007, and the course group won the National May 1st Labor Award. Since 2012, it has successively been selected as National Excellent Open Video Course and National Excellent Resources Shared Course.

Through some interesting topics, this course presents mathematical culture from multiple angles. It not only raises the mathematical knowledge that students have learned over the years to the level of spirit, method, and thought, but also reflects the laws of mathematics development from the perspective of culture and philosophy, enabling learners to improve the quality of thinking, learn to perceive the essence, make complex things simple, be rigorous, accurate, and confident in making decisions.

This course consists of 10 lectures. It takes about 2 hours for students to study the content of each lecture and complete the test. After class, they need to participate in discussions and mutual assessment. They also need to take the final exam.

Course Objectives

Improve students' thinking quality and mathematical literacy.


Gu Pei. Mathematical Culture. Higher Education Press, 2008.

Course Link