Math 11: Multivariable Calculus - FALL 2010

Erik Van Erp     Kemeny room 308, tel 6-9837
Alex Barnett     Kemeny room 206, tel 6-3178

Computed fluid flow around an insect's wing. The vortices in this vector field are regions of high curl (Image courtesy Jane Wang, Cornell)

The full title of this course is Calculus for First-Year Students with two terms of AP Credit. Really it's about learning a powerful and general set of mathematical tools to describe and analyse geometry, functions, and fields in multiple dimensions (particularly 3D, since that is how many dimensions our spatial world appears to have). You will have lots of fun discovering all the new ideas that pop up when the single-variable calculus you already know is generalized to 3D. You will also become adept at visualizing in 3D (and maybe even higher D...?) Since they were invented 300 years ago, these tools have enabled scientists to make enormous progress in understanding and modeling the world around us. Remarkably, they also form the gateway to more advanced pure mathematical areas such as linear algebra, analysis and topology.

You will find previous incarnations of this course here

Lectures and office hours:

Lectures are important to attend since often we may do interactive worksheets together. We recommend you read the material in the book in advance of the lecture. X-hours will be used intermittently for: review, problem-solving sessions, catch-up lectures, computer demos, etc. Do not schedule anything regular in your X-hr.

Required book: Multivariable Calculus, 6th Edition, James Stewart. (It is Chapters 11-18 of Stewart's larger calculus tome.) Available at Wheelock Books, etc.

Tutorials: Our graduate teaching assistants will run tutorials, focusing on worked problems, 7-9pm each Sun, Tues and Thurs. Please bring questions you are stuck on. Your TAs are: Scott Lalonde, Sarah Wolff, Lin Zhao.

Homework: Homework will consist of two parts.

  1. The first is the most important: we will give you a list of odd-numbered questions from the text that you are strongly advised to complete. These will not be handed in. However, we will assume that you are able to do these exercises---if you get stuck you should bring the particular questions to office hours and tutorials. Mastering these exercises is essential preparation for exams!
  2. Secondly, each Wednesday at start of lecture, you will hand in a smaller written assignment which is collected and graded. The format will be 2-4 exam-style written problems. These will be posted online or handed out the previous Friday. You should make sure you can do the first part of the homework before attempting these.
See the homework page for the smaller collected assignments.

Exams: We will try to give you ample time to complete exam questions. However, practise is key (also read this).

Honor principle. Exams: no help given or received. Homework: group discussion and collaboration on problem techniques is great and helpful. Write-ups must be done individually (ie no copying).

Grades: 25% for collected part of the homework. 20% for each of the two midterms. 35% for the final exam. Grades in Math 11 are not curved; other students' good performance will not hurt your grade. (So please work together and help each other out!)

Special needs: I encourage students with disabilities, including "invisible" disabilities like chronic diseases and learning disabilities, to discuss with us any appropriate accommodations that might be helpful. Let me know asap, certainly in first 2 weeks. Also stop by the Academic Skills Center in 301 Collis to register for support services.

Private tutoring: Tutor Clearinghouse may have private one-on-one tutors available for Math 11. The tutors are recruited on the basis that they have done well in the subject, and are trained by the Academic Skills Center. If a student receives financial aid, the College will pay for three hours of tutoring per week. If you would like to have a tutor, please go to 301 Collis and apply as early as possible. For more information check here

Religious observance: Some students may wish to take part in religious observances that occur during this academic term. If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.