Math 436, Linear Algebra - Fall 2015

Instructor: Jack Huizenga

Jack Huizenga
Office: 324 McAllister
  • Meeting times: MWF 2:30-3:20, 204 Sackett
  • First meeting: Monday, August 24
  • Office hours: Monday 3:30-5, Tuesday 12-1, or by appointment (Updated 9/14)
  • Textbook: Sheldon Axler, Linear Algebra Done Right, 3rd edition. With your Penn State account you can get an eBook version for free here. However, the book is not exorbitantly expensive, and you should be reading it very carefully. I would strongly consider purchasing the hard copy.
Brief course description: We will cover the majority of the textbook. This is a course in abstract linear algebra, focusing on finite-dimensional vector spaces over the real and complex numbers and linear operators which act on them. Topics include eigenvalues and eigenvectors, inner product spaces, the spectral theorem, the Cayley-Hamilton theorem, and Jordan canonical form. Successful students will learn to give proofs of abstract statements in linear algebra and use the abstract theory to analyze particular examples.
Prerequisites: Math 311W, Concepts of Discrete Mathematics. Former experience with computational linear algebra such as Math 220 should be helpful but is not strictly necessary.
Homework: Weekly homework assignments will be posted on the webpage most Wednesdays, and they are due in class the following Wednesday. Please write your solutions clearly and carefully. If you have to miss class that day, you can turn in your assignment early to my box in the McAllister building. Late homework will not be accepted. The lowest score will be dropped at the end of the semester.

Homework is by far the most important part of the course. The only way to learn advanced mathematics is to do advanced mathematics. While there is a solution manual for the text available online, you will be poorly prepared for exams if you make too much use of it. Successful students should expect to spend up to 10 or more hours per week between homework, studying notes, and studying the text.
Collaboration: You are encouraged to discuss homework problems with your fellow students. However, you have to write up your solutions by yourselves and show originality. Please write the names of any students you collaborated with on your assignment.
Exams and Grading: We will tentatively have exams on the following dates.

Week 6: Exam 1, Friday Oct. 2
Week 11: Exam 2, Friday Nov. 6
Final exam: Monday Dec. 14, 4:40-6:30 in 016 AG SC IN

The homework and exams will count for the following portions of your grade.

Homework: 20%
Exam 1: 20%
Exam 2: 20%
Final: 40%

As a guideline, composite scores of 90/80/70/etc. will receive at least an A-/B-/C-/etc.; this may be adjusted downward as the course progresses. In order to pass the class, you must pass the final.

Make-up exams: All make-up exams for permissible excuses must be requested in advance of the exam. Travel scheduled on an exam date is not a permissible excuse. There will be no make-up exams for unexcused abscences. At the instructor's discretion, in the case of a missed midterm your other exam scores may be used to determine your grade.

Final exam scheduling: Conflicts for the final exam are determined by scheduling; they cannot be scheduled through the Mathematics Department. A student with a final exam conflict must take action to request a conflict exam through eLion during the final exam conflict filing period from Sep. 28 - Oct. 18.

Academic Integrity Statement: All Penn State policies regarding ethics and honorable behavior apply to this course.
Disability Statement: Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. The Office for Disability Services Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: . For further information, please visit the Office for Disability Services Web site: .
Homework assignments (Solutions available on ANGEL) :
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