Math 411 Spring 2005

Instructor: John Roe

The official course syllabus is here.


This is a course on the modern, qualitative theory of ordinary differential equations. The emphasis is not on producing elaborate formulae for `exact solutions' but on understanding the structural features of such solutions: do they settle to equilibrium? do they oscillate? what happens if the parameters are changed? and so on. The course is fast-paced and demanding.

Prerequisites: Math 230 or 231 and 250 or 251 are prerequisites for this class.

Meeting Times: The class meets twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.45-11.00 a.m. in 109 Osmond. (Occasionally, we may meet in another room for experiments or technology demonstrations; these meetings will be notified in the previous class and by email.)

Textbook: Steven H. Strogatz, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos, Addison-Wesley.

Office hours will take place Tuesday 2-3 p.m. and Wednesday, 10.30-11.30 a.m. Students are strongly encouraged to make use of available office hours to discuss any questions or problems that they may have about the course or about mathematics more generally.

Calculators will not be necessary for the course, and are not permitted on the tests or on the final exam. You will need to use the computer programs dfield and pplane for plotting the solutions to differential equations. These are available from this web site in Java versions which should run in any Java-enabled web browser.

Academic Integrity Statement All Penn State policies regarding ethics and honorable behavior apply to this course. Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution.  Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. For any material or ideas obtained from other sources, such as the text or things you see on the web, in the library, etc., a source reference must be given. Direct quotes from any source must be identified as such. All exam answers must be your own, and you must not provide any assistance to other students during exams. Any instances of academic dishonesty will be pursued under the University and Eberly College of Science regulations concerning academic integrity.

Grading  Your grades for this course will be computed on the basis of weekly homework assignments, an in-class midterm, and a final exam.  Homework assignments will be posted on this web site and handed out in class.  They will be due on following Thursdays: 1/20, 2/3, 2/17, 3/17, 3/31, 4/14, 4/28, and I will aim to return graded homework on the following Tuesdays.  Each assignment will contain five questions.

Grades will be calculated as follows: