Applications of Calculus in
Medicine and Biology (Math 4)
Mathematical Biology (Math 27)
Instructor: Professor Dorothy Wallace
Have you ever wondered why medical schools require calculus? Or why
biology has recently been described as "the most mathematical science"?
Math 4/27 will show how real researchers in medicine and biology
use mathematical models to predict change and design strategies for
controlling epidemics, administering drugs, managing ecosystems, and other
Using basic calculus and a free application, The Big Green
Ordinary Differential Equation Machine, you can study a multitude of real
use a text book developed especially for this course, Situated Complexity, by yours truly, available at Wheelock Books.
At the Society for Mathematical Biology conference in July 2010
students from Math 4 and 27 presented three papers that began as
projects in this course. At SMB 2011 two students presented
papers, one of which began as research in Math 4. One student
from Math 27 last year is currently continuing research begun in that
class as a Presidential Scholar.
Math 4 is for students with one semester of calculus at least.
Biology Department web site for how this course fits into prerequisites
for the Biology major. The goal of Math 4 is to enable students
to read critically and think about the research literature in medical
and biological modeling with differential equations.
Math 27 is for students
with more mathematical background. Math
22 or the equivalent is a required prerequisite for Math 27. The
goal of Math 27 is
to enable students to conduct their own independent research projects
in mathematical biology after completing the course, if they so desire.
This course prepares you to do more research in a senior thesis,
Presidential Scholar, Neukom intern or for course credit via Math 87.
Math 27 students are encouraged to become familiar with Matlab if
they so desire.
Both courses meet in the same room at the same time. The
difference is that in Math 4 we will prepare to read the research
literature, finally doing so around week 5 or 6. In Math 27 we
will be reading the research literature from the start of the course.
In both courses the grades will be based on 3 papers, however the
topics will be different. All three papers are weighted equally.
Sometimes you will invent your own research topic and sometimes
you will build on work done by others (such as prior research done in
this course or found in the literature).
quarter we meet T-Th 10-11:50 and Wed 3-4. We spend class time
on many examples and case studies not included in the text. We will frequently
Wednesday time slot to participate in a research seminar in
mathematical biology (timed this way just for you). Students from
Math 23 (Differential equations) may also attend and participate in the
seminar, as well as students engaged in independent study in
mathematical biology. Attendance at the x-hour is required of
Math 27 students when we use it, and of Math 4 students on certain days (to
be announced). Do not schedule other activities during this
Math 4 is
using the latest version of Situated Complexity available at Wheelock
Books. Math 27 is using
Mathematical Biology by Murray. It is mostly used as a reference
text, but you should own it because it is a classic. Math 27
students are also invited
to get a copy of the Math 4 text, extras will be available.
Office hours: Wallace's office: Kemeny
204. Office hours: M 1-2, W 2-3, Th 12-2 and by appointment.
Honor principle: All authors must contribute substantially to any paper
with their names on it. All sources must be appropriately cited.
Any suspicion of plagiarism will be forwarded to the
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.