Franz Pedit, LGRT 1542 & 1535

pedit@math.umass.edu

Office hours: Wed 2:00-3:30 and by appointment

TA

Tiffany Quang

tquang@umass.edu

Course Objectives

The main objective of this class is to practice writing about mathematics. All writing has to be done in the word processing system LaTex (see resources below).

The mathematical writing will be based on

- The Poincare Conjecture, by Donal O'shea.
- Flatland: a romance in many dimensions, by Edwin A. Abbott 1838-1926.
- Videos of general audience lectures given by mathematicians on related topics.

- Additional assigned reading.

- Discussions in class.

Examples of mathematical writing:

- Steven Strogatz ''Elements of Mathematics'' and some of his writings you find in the NYtimes.
- Eugene Wigner ''The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences''
- Paul Lockhart ''A Mathematician's Lament" (specially recommended for anyone who wants to teach mathematics)
- Robert Kanigel "The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan"
- G. H. Hardy "A Mathematician's Apology"
- Simon Singh "Fermat's Last Theorem"
- Timothy Gowers "Mathematics. A Very Short Introduction"

- Edward Frenkel "Love and Math"
- Roger Penrose "The Road to Reality" (Introduction & Prologue)

Latex installation

TexShop for Mac • MikTex for PC • various commercial online editors (usually free for single user), e.g. Overleave, LaTex Base

Sample files

latex source example • latexed pdf of example source file • latex slides example • latexed pdf of slide example • latex typsetting manual • various commercial online editors (usually free for single user)

Writing check list

UMass resources

Library

Writing Center: tutoring and advise on your writing.

Career Center: advise on job applications, internships, grad school applications, cover letters, vitae.

Upcoming event dates

- September 3, 2019:
no class meeting.

- September 5, 2019: class visit by Science & Engineering Librarian Anne Graham, who wil introduce us to the libraries at UMass, online search options, citations, issues with plagriaism etc. This information will be useful whatever you will do after graduation, be it grad school, internships and so on.
- September 17, 2019: Nessim Watson, Assistant Director for CNS Career Center: presentation on the know hows of application writing: cover letters, resumes.

List of group projects: TBA

Course Log and assignments:

Reading Assignment : Paul Lockhart "A Mathematician's Lament".

Writing Assignment due 9/19/2019:

Write an essay (minimum 1 page single spaced in latex) how your experience with math so far compares to Lockhart's view of mathematics and how it should be taught. Consult the writing check list before you hand in your essay.

Week 2: Make sure you have latex up and running seamlesly.

Reading Assignment : "The Beauty of Doing Mathematics" the first hour of a lecture by Serge Lang, titled "The great problems of geometry and space". Then read the first 2 chapters of "The Poincare Conjecture" by Donal O'shea (the book is a rather large file, so be patient when downloading via slow servers).

Writing Assignment due 9/26/2019: write a 2-3 page singly spaced essay for say the campus news paper (i.e., your essay should be accessible by all students and faculty) on how the Greek geometer Eratosthenes (275-195 BC) concluded that he earth was round and how he

caclulated its circumference to great accuracy. Provide some biographical detail of Eratosthenes and enough mathematical detail for readers to follow the calculations. Include some drawings to aid explanations etc.