PSU 016 - 250/251: First Year Seminar in Mathematics


Penn State University Fall Semester 1999


Syllabus (Version 2.1)


The topics for each lecture are listed below, along with the [reading assignment] to be read for that day. Supplementary articles will be distributed a week or two before the class.


1) -Aug. 24- Introduction: surveys, puzzles, journals [Stewart Ch. 1]

2) -Aug. 31- Finance and Economics: Prof. Jenny Li (Mathematics/Economics)

3) -Sept. 7- Economic Dynamics: Game Theory/Turbulent Markets [Casti Ch. 1; articles]; Financial Careers.

4) -Sept. 14- The Buckling Problem and Bifurcations: Prof. Simon Tavener (Mathematics) [Stewart Ch. 6; Casti Ch. 3, pp. 116-123]

5) -Sept. 21- Semester checkup and discussion.

6) -Sept. 28- Ramanujan: Prof. George Andrews (Mathematics) [Berndt article]

7) -Oct. 5- Fermat's Last Theorem (NOVA presentation) [Stewart Ch. 3]

8) -Oct. 19- Prime Numbers and Internet Security: Kevin James (Mathematics) [Stewart Ch. 2; articles]

9) -Oct. 26- Galois, Symmetries, and Solving 5th Order Polynomials: Prof. Nigel Higson (Mathematics) [Stewart Ch. 7]

10) -Nov. 2- Semester checkup and discussion.

11) -Nov. 9- Logical Foundations of Mathematics: Prof. Steve Simpson (Mathematics) [Stewart Ch. 5; Simpson's article]

12) -Nov. 16- Chemical Clocks, Waves, and Heart Disease: Prof. A. Belmonte (Mathematics) [articles]

13) -Nov. 23- Meeting with Penn State Math Majors.

14) -Nov. 30- Computation, Information, and Turing Machines: Silicon, DNA, and the Future [Stewart Ch. 18; Casti Ch. 4; articles]

15) -Dec. 7- Careers in Mathematics: Prof. Carme Calderer (Mathematics, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies)


Note that due to the complexities of scheduling there may be some changes to the syllabus.

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