Course Description: The FYS in Mathematics provides an introduction to the variety of ways in which math is being used in our world. We will discuss topics from finance to Fermat's Last Theorem, from the role of prime factorization in internet security protocols to the computational possibilities of DNA. The course includes several guest lectures from professors here at Penn State, a panel discussion with graduating math majors, and opportunities to reflect upon and discuss your potential four-year plans.
The course has three goals: 1) to provide an overview of modern mathematics, which while not exhaustive will expose you to some exciting open questions and research problems in mathematics; 2) to introduce you to research in mathematics being done at Penn State; 3) to answer whatever questions you might have during your first semester here, to lead you to resources and encourage you to use them, and to get you started in your academic experience at Penn State.
The material we will discuss this semester can be divided into three topics:
I. Mathematics and the ``Real World(s)'': Economic and Natural
II. Pure Mathematics and Some Pure Applications
III. The Limits of Mathematics
Updated syllabus:   Version 2.1
1. Ian Stewart, From Here to Infinity (Oxford Paperbacks, 1996).
2. John L. Casti, Five Golden Rules (Wiley & Sons, 1996).