Spring 2001 



Math21b:
An introduction to linear algebra, including linear transformations,
determinants, eigenvectors, eigenvalues, inner products and linear spaces.
We will further study linear differential equations and applications.
[See below for detailed topics list.] This course is taught entirely in sections (taught by teaching fellows [TF]), with an additional weekly problem session (conducted by a Course Assistant [CA]). Sectioning must be done via computer by noon on Thursday, Feb 1. You will be notified of your assigned section on Friday, Feb 2. Classes will begin on Monday, Feb 5. Course Head:
Here you'll find here homework solutions, exam review problems and solutions, and course supplements. Exams: There will be two midterm exams and a Final Exam. Any changes to the following exam dates will be announced here and in class.
Grades: Grades: Your overall course grade will be determined according to the following weights:
We encourage you to form study groups with other students in the class so you can discuss the work with each other. Your Course Assistant will, upon request, distribute a list of names and phone numbers of those in class in order to facilitate this. Although we encourage you to talk to your classmates, work must be written up independently. Many of the problems for homework will look different from problems you discussed in class and in the text. This is not an accident. We want you to think about the material and learn to apply it in unfamiliar settings and interpret it in different ways. Only if you understand the material (as opposed to merely knowing it) will you be able to go beyond the information you are given. Many math students seem to subscribe to the "Ten Minute Rule": If you cannot solve it in ten minutes, you cannot solve it at all. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. You will probably learn most from those problems which keep you busy more than ten minutes, whether you can ultimately solve them or not. Math Question Center: In addition to class, problem sessions, and office hours, the Mathematics Department operates a Question Center in Loker on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 8pm to 10pm. The Question Center will be staffed by Course Assistants from Math 1a, 1b, 21a, and 21b and by graduate students and others. You are encouraged to use this resource as you do your homework and when questions arise. It is intended to supplement the office hours held by your Section Leader. Use of technology: In some of the homework problems you will be asked not to use any technology (calculators or software packages). If no restriction is made, you may use the form of technology of your choice, e.g. TI85 calculator, Matlab, Maple, Mathematica. You may want to arrange to have access to some form of technology. Calculators will not be allowed in the exams.
Ombudsperson:
If something wonderful or worrisome comes up in connection
with the class let your TF know. You can also contact the
course head. In addition there is an Ombudsperson you can reach by emailing
Syllabus: We will cover approximately one section of the text per class (MWF schedule). Your Section Leader will highlight the key concepts introduced in each section, but there may not be enough time to cover all the topics. You will need to study the text to fill in the details. Reading the text is an integral part of the course. On the exams, you will be responsible for all the material discussed in the text and in class. Below is the approximate daybyday syllabus for the MWF sections of the course. Some topics may be omitted if time is limited.

Please send comments to math21b@fas.harvard.edu.