MATH 260: Introduction to Abstract Mathematics
Spring 2001, 4 credits, MTWF 10:00-10:50, MC 555
Instructor: Rich Maresh, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Office: MC 522Hours: MWF 1-2, T 9-10, or by appt.
Phone: 796-3655Home Phone: 526-4988
Final Exam: Tuesday, 8 May 2001, 12:50-2:50 pm
Course Description:Sentential and quantifier logic, axiomatic systems, and set theory. Emphasis is on the development of mathematical proofs. Pre-requisite: grade of C or higher in Math 221.
Text: An Introduction to Abstract Mathematics, by Robert Bond and William Keane, Brooks/Cole, 1999.
1.The over-arching goal in this course is to learn to read and write mathematical proofs.
2.A second major goal is to be able to communicate mathematical concepts and mathematical proofs.
3.While the course is more about process than content, it is still a goal of this course to consider content which is important to further study of mathematics: logic, set theory, relations and functions, mathematical induction, number theory, and cardinality.
Course Objectives: These are basically the topics we will be covering; throughout, the emphasis will be on reading, writing, and communicating proofs.
1.Mathematical Logic and Proof: Statements, Implication, Truth Tables, Direct and Indirect Proofs, Proof by Contrapositive, Proof by Contradiction
2.Set Definitions, Notation, and Operations
3.Functions: Basic properties, One-to-One and Onto Functions, Composition of Functions.
4.Binary Operations and Relations: Equivalence relations.
5.The Integers: Basic properties, Induction, Division Algorithm, Primes, Factorization, Congruences.
6.Infinite Sets: Countability, Uncountable sets.
7.The Real Numbers.
This course is a very significant step for every mathematics major, and probably more than any other single course, certainly up to this point in your course work, lets you see what it is like to be a mathematician and whether you can find fulfillment as, or have the ability to be, a mathematician. I certainly have vivid memories of my equivalent course.
All mathematics educators believe in the adage, “Mathematics is not a spectator sport!” In this course, more than in most, however, your contributions will MAKE the course. I intend to allow a healthy fraction of our class time to consist of student presentations of attempted proofs. In addition to learning to read or listen to proofs, with comprehension, as well as learning to problem solve and write proofs, it is important to acquire a disinterested objectivity - like a scientist, we must strive to view a proof in its own terms and not take corrections personally. The “craft” of mathematics is in one sense very personal but at the same time your work must be held to the highest standard of objectivity.
I have chosen this textbook largely for its philosophy; it is designed to be used in a student-oriented class. I will make assignments virtually on a daily basis and it is very important that you work on these as best you can. I hope that at least once a week, on average, each of will get a chance to present some of your work. It is important that we not miss classes; this will be almost a “seminar” course - the size of the group and the philosophy ll allow us to do that.
Because it is important that we learn to WRITE proofs which are correct and clear, as well as to present them orally, I will collect most of the daily assignments and grade them. There will also be two in-class, written, exams - one at the mid-term and one during the final exam time slot; I do believe in seeing what students can do on their own and “under pressure”. At the same time, there will be frequent take-home assignments, both daily homework and other problem sets.
Grading: I will use the traditional 90-80-70-60 scale as a framework for assigning grades. I do realize the artificiality of such a scale - but I usually try to make the assignments reasonable enough so that students can earn an appropriate grade. It is harder in this course in particular to make things seem “objective”, since writing proofs is something like writing essays in an English course - there is “correct” and “complete”, but there is also “elegant” and “insightful”.I will try to keep you informed along the way about your progress in the course.
Portfolios: Because this course is all about developing skills, albeit subtle and substantial skills, it is especially important to monitor your development. In fact, we are trying to compile a portfolio of the work of each mathematics major as they work their way through the courses in the major. I would like to ask you to turn in a collection of your best efforts during the course, probably five problems, which can be added to your portfolio. These portfolios should not only give you a chance to pay attention to your progress, but they also will give the department a picture of how well our students are learning what we want them to learn.
Journals: I realize that sometimes “journaling” is overdone in this era of Journal-as-a-verb, but I do think it is important that each of you have a vehicle for thinking about your performance in the course and for letting me know how things are going. Consequently, I’d like to ask you each to turn in a journal entry, at least a few paragraphs, every two weeks - I don’t want to make the task too onerous but I also want to stay on top of things. So let’s aim for Mondays: Jan 29, Feb 12, Feb 26, Mar 19, Apr 2, Apr 17, Apr 30. I’ll award 5 points for each of these.
Americans with Disability Act: If you are a person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services or other accommodations for this class, please see me or Wayne Wojciechowski (MC 320, 796-3085) within ten days to discuss your accommodation needs.
The Schedule: For many courses I teach, I construct a fairly detailed schedule, with assignments and material to be covered each day throughout the semester. For several reasons, however, this time we will be playing it a bit more by ear. It is difficult for me to know just how much text material we can comfortably cover (I do hope to at least cover 5 chapters, perhaps 6). The emphasis I want to give to looking at your work also requires a certain flexibility in schedule - and it is difficult to say just what effect this will have. I do think it is much more important that you LEARN the material than that we “cover” it.