Colorado State University — Pueblo, Fall 2014
Math 495, Independent Study/Capstone Seminar:
Communicating Mathematical Ideas

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Class meetings: W 8-8:50am in PM 221

Instructors: various mathematics department faculty, including

Prerequisite: Upper division standing and declared mathematics major or minor, plus successful completion of three approved upper division mathematics courses or successful completion of two approved upper division mathematics courses and co-requisite of one additional upper division mathematics course. (Non-approved courses include Math 360, Math 361 and Math 362.) Or approval of (an) instructor.

Description: This one-credit seminar is intended for junior and senior mathematics majors and minors. Its major objectives are:

You may be wondering: "What is this LaTeX"?

One answer is that it is to today's global scientific communication what Latin was the European intellectual community from the Middle Ages until at least the 18th century: understood and accepted by everyone, hard to get along without, the default tool for publication of [nearly] all new results....

Another answer is that it is a program which enables users to create documents with very sophisticated typesetting — particularly of mathematical formulæ and diagrams, but also including automatically generated references, indices, tables of contents, etc. — very simply (well, after you learn the basics ... as we will in this class!). For example, the code

\int_{-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-x^2}dx = \sqrt{\pi}
in LaTeX produces the output $$\int_{-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-x^2}\,dx=\sqrt{\pi}\quad.$$ So: a little cumbersome, not at all WYSIWYG [="What You See Is What You Get"], but powerful!

Required assignments will include:

Final Projects: will consist of a 15-20 minute presentation on an approved topic and a 3-5 page write-up of that presentation (using LaTeX). Project topics might be an interesting topic or technique from another upper division mathematics (or science) class, a topic you find in an expository mathematics journal, a topic from the history of mathematics, an interesting connection between art and mathematics, etc.

Participation will be a large part of the class, so that attendance will be mandatory!

Grades to be determined by quality of participation in the course, based on attendance, quality of presentations and other assignments, and quality of the final project.

Academic integrity: Mathematics is more effectively and easily learned — and more fun — when you work in groups. However, all work you turn in must be your own, and any form of cheating is grounds for an immediate F in the course for all involved parties. All violations of academic integrity will be reported to the Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management and may also be reported to advisors and/or program chairs (e.g., the Associate Dean of Education) of the parties involved. For further information about what constitutes academic dishonesty, please read the University Statement on Academic Dishonesty which appears on pp. 46-47 of the 2014-2015 University Catalog. If you are not sure whether a particular action constitutes "cheating" in this particular course, please ask!

Students with disabilities: The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulate that no student shall be denied the benefits of education "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive accommodations, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to: the Disability Resource Office, which is located in the Library and Academic Resources Center, Suite 169.

Jonathan Poritz (
Page last modified: Monday, 08-Sep-2014 20:51:24 CDT