Linear Algebra

Fall 2002

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Instructor: Dr. Art Duval

Please feel free to come by my office any time during scheduled office hours. You are welcome to come at other times, but in that case you might want to make an appointment, just to make sure that I will be there then. You can make an appointment simply by talking to me before or after class, by calling me at my office or at home, or by sending e-mail.

You may also ask any questions directly via phone or e-mail. If I'm not in when you call, please leave a message on the voice-mail or answering machine with your name, number, and a good time for me to call you back. I will try to respond to your phone or e-mail message as soon as possible.


Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to prove (and occasionally discover) theorems in linear algebra, at the level of abstraction of linear transformations and vector spaces. You will know, understand, and be able to apply, prove, and explain major results in this area.


In contrast to Matrix Algebra (Math 3323), we will be focusing on proofs and theory instead of applications (though theory lies closer to applications in linear algebra than it does in, say, analysis), vector spaces instead of Rn, and linear transformations instead of matrices. Otherwise, many topics will look familiar.

Textbook: Linear Algebra with Applications, by John Scheick

We will go through all of Chapters 1 and 2, sections 3.1-3.3, and sections 4.1-4.3. If time permits, we will also go through sections 4.4 and 6.1.

If you have not previously taken Matrix Algebra (or its equivalent), you may find Chapter 0 helpful.

Also, on one-day reserve at the library is Linear Algebra Through Geometry, by Banchoff and Wermer (Springer-Verlag) (click here to order it from Amazon). This book stays firmly in R2 and R3, and doesn't get to some of the advanced topics, but is a very nice introduction to the concept of linear tranformations, using geometric ideas and examples.


Participation (35%):
Most class time will be devoted to student discussions of the material, while I serve primarily as a moderator.

You will regularly give presentations in class of proofs of results in the textbook, and of solutions to problems. For full credit, these presentations should be clear and convincing to your classmates.

When you are in the audience, you are still expected to be actively engaged in the presentation. This means checking to see if every step of the presentation is clear and convincing to you, and speaking up when it is not. When there are gaps in the reasoning, the class will work together to fill the gaps.

At all times, the conversation will be guided by the principles of "mathematically accountable" talk.

Of the 35% for this part of your grade, 30% will be for the quality and quantity of your own presentations, and 5% will be for your participation in others' presentations.

Homework (15%):
Written homework will be assigned approximately biweekly, announced in class, and posted on the course website. Assignments will be due at the beginning of class. No late homeworks! (Incomplete homeworks will be accepted, though.) If an emergency prevents you from delivering your homework on time (or having someone else deliver it for you), please let me know as soon as possible.

You are encouraged to work together on your homework, but you must write up your solutions by yourself.

Midterm (15%):
There will be a midterm on
Thu., 10 Oct.
You will have to recall and explain definitions, reproduce proofs from class, and present short proofs to new problems.

Makeup tests can be given only in extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances, and with advance notice.

Final (35%)
The final exam will be comprehensive over all material we discuss in class. It will be similar to the midterm, but longer, and may ask you for some more involved proofs. The final will be on
Thu., 12 Dec., 10:00-12:45 p.m.

Attendance Policy:

For every two unexcused absences, you will receive a zero for an in-class presentation. I will usually excuse an absence if you tell me about it in advance, or, in cases of emergencies, as soon as possible afterwards.

Drop date:

The deadline for student-initiated drops with a W is Fri., 18 Oct. After this date, you can only drop with the Dean's approval, which is granted only under extenuating circumstances.

I hope everyone will complete the course successfully, but if you are having doubts about your progress, I will be happy to discuss your standing in the course to help you decide whether or not to drop. You are only allowed three enrollments in this course, so please exercise the drop option judiciously.