Math 170 Course Information - Spring 2007

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 am - 11 am in DLR A8

Faculty: Nate Ackerman TA 201: Daniel Pomerleano TA 202: Daniel Pomerleano TA 203: Daniel Pomerleano TA 204: Daniel Pomerleano TA 205: Chintan Mehta TA 206: Chintan Mehta
Office: DRL 4N53 Section Location: DRL 3W2 Section Location: DRL 3W2 Section Location: DRL 3W2 Section Location: DRL 3W2 Section Location: DRL 3C8 Section Location: DRL 3C8
Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:15 pm-3:15 pm or by appointment Section Time: Tuesdays 8:30 am - 9:30 am Section Time: Tuesdays 9:30 am - 10:30 am Section Time: Thursdays 8:30 am - 9:30 am Section Time: Thursdays 9:30 am - 10:30 am Section Time: Tuesdays 8:30 am - 9:30 am Section Time: Tuesdays 9:30 am - 10:30 am
E-mail: nate AT math.upenn.edu E-mail: dpomerle AT math.upenn.edu E-mail: dpomerle AT math.upenn.edu E-mail: dpomerle AT math.upenn.edu E-mail: dpomerle AT math.upenn.edu E-mail: chintanm AT math.upenn.edu E-mail: chintanm AT math.upenn.edu

Texts
It is assumed you all have a copy of these textbooks

Title: Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas

Authors: Edward B. Burger, Michael Starbird

Publisher: W. W. Norton and Co.

Year: 2005


Title: The Magic of Numbers

Author: Benedict Gross and Joe Harris

Publisher: Pearson, Prentice Hall

Year: 2004

Grades
Grades will be broken up as follows

Homework: 30%

Presentation: 20%

Midterm Paper: 20%

Final: 30%

Bonus Points: 5-10%
If there is a large discrepancy between sections the grades will be normalized to take this into account (if you want to understand exactly how this will be done ask me or you your TA). Your grades will be posted at Blackboard.

Homework
Homework will be posted at the course website on Wednesdays. Homework will be due at the beginning of class one week after they are assigned. If for any reason you are unable to attend class you are responsible for finding your TA and giving him your homework before he goes home. Late homework will not be accepted.

Discussion of the homework before it is due is strongly encouraged. However, each person must write up their solutions themselves and put on the homework the names of everyone they worked with.


Presentation
Each student will be required to give a 10-15 minute presentation during recitation at some point in the semester. The presentation will be related to the material recently presented in lecture and I will provide a rough outline of what you should cover. However, you should build on this basic outline to provide an informative and interesting presentation which delves deeper into the ideas than was done in lecture.

In addition to the presentation each student will be required to type up the notes they used during the presentation so they can be posted on the website (these note should, at the very least, contain an outline of your presentation along with the key points you wish to make.

You will sign up for a date during your first recitation and the Wednesday of the week before your presentation you must meet with me and your TA between 3:15 pm - 3:45 pm in my office. If you have a conflict with this time you must let your TA know a least a week before the scheduled meeting.

Your presentation will be graded by your TA as well as your peers.


Midterm Paper
Each student will be required to read a novel which uses mathematics in a central way and to write a book report on it. The novels should be chosen from the MathFiction (courtesy of Professor Kasman at the College of Charleston).

In the paper you must at least answer the following questions:

  1. Is the mathematics in the book genuine or fake? (you must check the topics and facts covered in the book and justify your answer)
  2. How central is mathematics to this book?
  3. Would you recommend this book to a fellow mathematician?

The paper should be 3-4 pages long, written in English and typed. The novel you read must be one of your sources however you are welcome to use other references if they are properly documented. However merely collecting other peoples comments is not acceptable.

Each student of a given TA must chose a unique book. So, you will need to sign up for your book by Monday January 29. The book report is due on Friday March 2.


Final Exam
There will be a final exam in this class. The exact form of which will be announced closer to the time of the final.

Bonus Points
Throughout the semester students will be given the opportunity to earn "bonus points". At the end the class a value between 5 and 10% will be chosen (the value will depend on how the class as a whole does). Each person will then be given extra credit percentage points based on how many "bonus points" they received relative to the rest of the class. These will be Pure Extra Credit. What this means is that having bonus points can help you, but not having them can't hurt you.

For example suppose the value was set at 10% and we might have the following:

Grade Bonus Points Final Grade
Student A 80% 100 90%
Student B 75% 50 80%
Student C 85% 0 85%

Among other places, bonus points will be assigned for quizzes given during lecture. The purpose of these quizzes is to encourage all students to come to lecture as attending lecture as, while not mandatory, attending lecture will greatly improve your understanding of the material.


This page was created by Nate Ackerman, and last revised on January 4, 2006.