MATH 410 A Seminar in Mathematics


Professor: George L. Ashline

Office: 261 Jeanmarie Hall, Phone: 654-2434

Office Hours: M,W from 1:30 to 3 PM and T,F from 1:30 to 2:30 PM; also, feel free to set up appointments with me for other times.

Class Meets: Tuesdays from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM in Jeanmarie 380

Course Goals:

Semester Outline:

A. January - Initial, ``get your feet wet" presentations will be done by everyone. The objective of these is to present to the class a complete solution to an assigned Calculus problem. Your initial presentation is to last 5-10 minutes.

B. February - For each intermediate presentation, you are to read a mathematics article of your own choosing and then provide a description and summary of this article to the class. Initially, you should conduct a literature search concerning appealing mathematical topics using journals and other library resources as well as appropriate electronic sources. Consult one of the handouts for a list mathematical journals at SMC as well as databases, indexes, and other reference sources. Your intermediate presentation is to last 15-20 minutes. Your literature search will be helpful as you decide on a final presentation/paper topic.

C. March/April - During consecutive classes starting on March 3rd after winter break, each of you is to give a final presentation on a mathematical topic of your own choosing. Your final presentation is to last 45-50 minutes. The paper corresponding to this presentation should be written up and turned in as soon as possible following your presentation (no more than 2 weeks after you give your presentation). For those of you giving your final presentation during one of the last 3 weeks of the semester, your paper will be due by April 28, the date of our last class.

Semester Notes:

1. Most classes will last about an hour or less. In a typical class, presentation(s) will be made and after each one there will be an opportunity for you to evaluate the work of your classmates.

2. In your initial presentation, you are to describe to the class a solution to a problem from calculus. All of your problems are taken from the section on Applied Maxima/Minima (Section 4.7) from Stewart's Calculus, the Early Transcendental 3rd edition, which is currently used in our calculus sequence. The problems found on p. 299 are as follows:

Student 1 #4 or #21
Student 2 #5 or #20
Student 3 #6 or #19
Student 4 #7 or #18
Student 5 #8 or #17
Student 6 #9 or #16
Student 7 #10 or #15
Student 8 #11 or #14
Student 9 #12 or #13

3. Your final presentation/paper abstract is due on Thursday, February 19.

It should be noted that winter break begins after your last class on February 20. The abstract should contain your topic choice as well as a brief description of what you plan to do and what resources (articles, texts, etc.) you plan to use. You can drop off your abstract in class on February 17 or e-mail it to me by February 19.

4. You are encouraged to participate in the 5th annual Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (HRUMC) to be held Saturday, April 18 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. The deadline for receipt of abstracts for HRUMC is Friday, February 20, which is one day after your final presentation/paper seminar abstract is due. Your final presentation/paper for seminar could provide the substance for a presentation at the conference. The philosophy of the conference is to make undergraduates feel welcome in the mathematical community. Each session of the conference often will include a mixture of student and faculty speakers, with talks at Level I (accessible to 1st and 2nd year students) and Level II (accessible to 3rd and 4th year math majors).

HRUMC offers a great opportunity to display your work and meet mathematics students from other colleges. If you should decide to participate, you will need to identify a faculty sponsor with whom you can work on your presentation. I will ``sweeten the pot" for anyone who participates in HRUMC by raising that person's final presentation/paper grade to the next highest grade range.

5. If you took Math 304 with me in the Fall of 1997, the topic for your final presentation/paper for seminar should be different and distinct from the topic you chose for your final History of Mathematics paper.

Presentation Tips:

Grading: Your grade will be based on the three presentations to be completed during the semester. The approximate breakdown of your grade will be:

Initial presentation 20%
Second presentation 30%
Final presentation 50%

Semester Summary:

1. January 13 Introduction
2. January 20 4 Initial presentations
3. January 27 5 Initial presentations
4. February 3 3 intermediate presentations
5. February 10 3 intermediate presentations
6. February 17 3 intermediate presentations
February 19 final presentation/paper abstract due
7. March 3 1st final presentation
8. March 10 2nd final presentation
9. March 17 3rd final presentation
10. March 24 4th final presentation
11. March 31 5th final presentation
12. April 7 6th final presentation
13. April 14 7th final presentation
April 18 HRUMC at Union College
14. April 21 8th final presentation
15. April 28 9th final presentation

This is a tentative schedule which may be need to modified as the semester progresses. Any such modifications and other announcements will be made in class and/or using e-mail. Since the class meets only on Tuesdays, e-mail is an effective means to correspond at other times. Also, feel free to stop by my office with questions or concerns.

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