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Why study calculus? There are two reasons to study mathematics in general. First, despite what is the commonplace view, mathematics is inextricably woven into the fabric of our society. A 1000 years of mathematics goes into you living your life everyday. From mathematics thats used in transmitting electricity to your homes, to the algorithms that power your most recent tweet. It helps cities to run, financial markets to function, for you to compute on the cloud, for your genomes to be sequenced, and countless other applications. Mathematics really is everywhere. And so its only reasonable that knowing a lot about the one idea that has perhaps had the biggest impact on progress in society is probably a good idea.

But there is another reason, and that is to learn how to reason, assess, criticize, and make progress. Unlike most other pursuits, from experimental sciences to sociology and politics, to truly engage with and assess your ideas requires a back and forth with experiments in the lab or observations in the world. This requires time and resources. Mathematics is an incredibly personal thing you can do that can teach you everything about what it means to understand something and what is required to gain that understanding. Its something you can do with a paper and pen. This is exactly what we will do.

In the entire mathematical edifice, calculus perhaps stands out as humanities singular achievement. It is our greatest idea and it forms the bedrock of how we understand absolutely everything: from planetary motion to the electrons whizzing around your laptops, and everything in between.  

 

234, Multivariable Calculus, is the first time you really see the power of calculus when its taken to multiple dimensions. Indeed, it is my view, that you only really see the utility, universality, and elegance of calculus when you see it from a multidimensional point of view. Said simply, multivariable calculus is where you will see the generalization of the ideas you are already familiar with in one-dimension, for one variable. 

 

Acknowledgement: A significant portion of the course material has been provided by Prof. William Kath. 

 

TAs: Angelia Wang (angelia@u.northwestern.edu)

        Colton Bryant (bryant@u.northwestern.edu)

 

Class schedule: There will be 3 classes a week, MWF. 

 

 

Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 12-1pm in Tech M453. No additional time will be made so make sure to attend at least one of these if you have questions. You can attend more than one if you wish to do so.

 

 

Recitation: Thursday 2-3 in Tech M152. 

 

Assignments: You can find the assignments here

 

Deliverables/Assessment: There will be 6 assignments (40%), 1 midterm (30%), and a final (30%). 

 

Due-dates: Assignments are due on Friday's in class or underneath my door (Tech M454) before 3pm.

 

Midterm date: Nov 2nd. 50 minute exam in class.

 

Regrading Policy: Assignments will be handed back in class on Friday. You have until 2pm on the following  Monday to email myself and the 2 TAs (one email please to all 3 with subject line - 234 regrading HW#) with your issue succinctly described. Be warned that we will take another collective look at not just the problem you raise by your entire assignment, which might result in additional points being taken off other problems if we find additional errors in your work.

 

 

Books: The course will not follow any particular book/s. That said, it is inspired by a chapter in Greenspan and Benny. Edwards and Penny is another book that is a standard reference for a multivariable calc class. A nice set of lecture notes that can be additional reading material can be found here .

 

 

Review material: Calculus and integral reviews that will help you get up to speed for the quarter. 

No calculators!

 

© 2023 by GREG SAINT. All rights reserved.

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