Franz Pedit, LGRT 1542 & 1535
Office hours: Wed 2:00-3:30 and by appointment
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
There will be group projects, including a final presentation of the projects by
- 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)
TexShop for Mac • MikTex for PC • various commercial online editors (usually free for single user), e.g. Overleave, LaTex Base
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
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:
Week 1: Download
the full latex installation on your laptop from the links in the
resources section (mac users and microsoft users need different
intsallations---those who run linux can fare for themsleves, since they
know better anyway). Familiarize yourself with its basics by using the
templates provided above. Get help from fellow students if you have
difficutlies or google your questions. All writing in this class has to
be done in LaTex.
Reading Assignment : Paul Lockhart "A Mathematician's Lament".
Writing Assignment due 9/19/2019:
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.