Graph Theory, Spring 2014

The goal of the course project is to give you a chance to think about how mathematicians (specifically graph theorists) integrate into the mathematical community.

You will be doing research into one of the following:

  • The life of a graph theorist who interests you. (This is the suggested project.)
  • A topic from graph theory that interests you and that we have not studied in class.

You will take the information that you learn and share it in the following two ways.

  • You will create and/or edit at least two Wikipedia pages related to your topic, contributing at least 10000 bytes of information to Wikipedia.  (Approximately 1000 words)
  • You will prepare and present a 8-10 minute presentation about your topic, to be presented on a presentation day at the end of the semester.


Your first task is to find a mathematician (or topic) whose Wikipedia page you will be editing. A good place to start looking is on Wikipedia's page of requested Mathematics articles. No two people may work on the same page, so I will be keeping a list of chosen subjects. If you have any strong preference, you will need to email me early to claim your subject!  Make sure to choose a mathematician or topic whose Wikipedia page is rather sparse, and send me your subject before you do any editing.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank 1013-josh for his and his students' illuminating contributions about a similar project.  I also thank the Wikipedia Education Program for developing teaching resources.


In order to help your time management, I have broken up the project into pieces. Disregarding this timeline will negatively impact your project grade.

Just as with the other homework assignments, if you are running into trouble or you would like my input on your project, I suggest coming to see me earlier rather than later.

  • Project Statement due Wednesday, March 5. Email Prof. Chris a paragraph explaining: (a) The anticipated subject of your project, and (b) what inspired you to choose this subject. I suggest that you email me your subject as soon as you have decided in order to stake a claim.
  • Outline / initial organization due Wednesday, March 19. Before class, email Prof. Chris a link to one (or more) sandbox pages in your Wikipedia user space that includes an outline of your project including a plan of attack for your project.   This will include the following:
    • The scope of your project---what main points will you be focusing on?  (This requires reading texts and deciding on what is important and what is not.)  Break this down using bullet-points to clarify the major topics.
    • You must also include at least two references that have been published in print form, such as books or journals. The copy of the source you consult may be on the internet, but they must have appeared in print form at some point.
    If you are having trouble getting started or would like guidance, meet with me the week before.
  • Initial draft due (no later than) Wednesday, April 2. You must have started editing a draft of your Wikipedia page by now.  You can either be working in your sandbox, or having already transitioned out of your sandbox page into a live wikipedia page.  You should move onto a live wikipedia page once you start to feel that your draft has taken shape.
  • Wikipedia page completed by Monday, April 28.  Send Prof. Chris a link to your completed pages.
  • Project presentation prepared for Wednesday, May 14.


I expect you to make a solid contribution to Wikipedia of at least 10000 bytes of information to Wikipedia, not including Appendices or Bibliography.  (This is approximately 1000 words).  You are expected to link your pages to other current pages in Wikipedia.  You should also provide references for the content you include, perhaps highlighting a few references where interested people might learn more about the topic. 

For a mathematician, you should create or modify a page with a biography that is at least 750 words, similar in scope to that of Frank Ramsey, and then create or modify a page that explains / describes one of the mathematician's major results using at least 500 words.  The exact breakdown will depend on your mathematician and what makes the most sense in terms of creating useful Encyclopedic content.

For a topic in graph theory, you should include some background of where the topic arose and when most research was done on it. Explain what other topics from graph theory are related and how.  Highlight some key concepts and theorems and explain when they were proved and by whom.

In both cases, make sure to state results and elaborate upon them; if the math is unclear, I suggest coming to talk with me! Keep in mind why you chose the subject of the project in the first place; this will help guide you in finding material to cover.

Important: I will be grading your project based on this rubric.  Make sure to keep this in mind when working on your project.


This project represents 25% of your grade this semester (15% for the wikipedia edits and 10% for the presentation).