Math 30(1): Differential Equations (Spring 2002)

(For students who have not studied linear algebra)

The successes of the differential equation paradigm were impressiveand extensive. Many problems, including basic and important ones, led toequations that could be solved. A process of self-selection set in, wherebyequations that could not be solved were automatically of less interestthan those that could.  -- Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice?The Mathematics of Chaos







This is the homepage for Math 30(1), differential equations (TTh 9:55-11:10in Hicks 211), taught by Jim Wiseman, Spring 2002.

Office: 3 Whittier Place, Room 255, 690-5763.


Office hours:  Tuesday 5:00 - 6:30 (Math 81 students havepriority), Wednesday 5:00 - 6:30 (Math 30 students have priority), andby appointment.

Text book: Boyce and DiPrima, Elementary Differential Equations,7th edition, available at the bookstore.

Plan:  We'll cover roughly chapters 2-9 of the book.  A more detailed schedule is at, but it's subject to change.

Homework:  Working problems is vital to learning math; therewill be homework assignments every week, due in class on Thursdays (I willaccept them in my office until 5:00 Thursday).  Assignments will beposted at you are responsible for checking the assignments, as I won't give themin class.  It's very important that you keep up with the homework: if you haven't figured out Tuesday's lecture, Thursday's will probablybe pretty frustrating.

Group work:  I strongly encourage you to work on the homeworkin groups.  I suggest that you work on the problems by yourself first,making a note of anything giving you trouble; then meet with your groupand work through the remaining problems together; and finally write upthe solutions by yourself.
    Every group member must write up his or her ownsolutions independently; just copying the group's answers is plagiarismand is unacceptable.

Computer projects:  I will assign three or four projectsduring the semester that will require the use of Mathematica, ODE Architect,or both.  You'll work in pairs or small groups.  I'll give youmore detailed information later in the semester.

Getting help:  As Talking Barbie says, "Math class is tough." (Unless she's the hacked version - then she says, "Eat lead, Cobra.") Chances are that sooner or later you'll get stuck on something, so don'tget frustrated.  Think hard, and if you're still stuck, do somethingelse for a while.  (It's amazing how often that works.)
    My office hours are above - these are times whenI'm guaranteed to be in my office and willing to talk.  If you wantto see me at other times, the best thing to do is to set up an appointmentwith me by email or after class.  Of course, you're welcome to justdrop by my office, as long as you don't mind if I'm not there or don'thave time to talk.
    A good resource is the MathClinic in Cornell Library, which runs Sunday-Thursday, 7 - 10 pm.
    Finally, I can't emphasize enough that your classmatesare your best source of help.

Grading:  Homework 15%,  computer projects 15%, each midterm 20%, final 30%

Exam schedule:

Late work and make-ups:  Late homework and projects won't beaccepted, and you won't be allowed to make up missed exams, except underveryexceptional circumstances (e.g., the sasquatch attacks - and even thenyou should get a note from the sasquatch).  In the case of a conflictthat you absolutely can't resolve, you may arrange to take a midterm examearly.

Feedback:  I'm very interested in your feedback throughoutthe class:  what you like, what you don't, what's working for you,what isn't - anything that you think might help me make the course better. If you have any comments (and you probably should), the easiest thing todo is to talk to me (or send email) about them.  If you want to remainanonymous, you can fill out the anonymous feedback form on my feedbackpage.

Webpage: Please check my webpage for updated information.

Jim Wiseman
Department of Mathematicsand Statistics
Swarthmore College
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081