Math 436, Linear Algebra - Spring 2020

Instructor: Jack Huizenga

Jack Huizenga
Office: 324 McAllister
  • Meeting times: MWF 12:20-1:10
  • Location: 211 Nursing Sciences Building
  • First meeting: Monday, January 13
  • Office hours: Monday 4:30-5:30, Wednesday 4:30-5:30, or by appointment.
  • 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. The free electronic textbook "Linear Algebra" by Jim Heffron may also be helpful, get it here.
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, and the spectral theorem. 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 will be helpful but is not strictly necessary.
Homework: Homework is by far the most important part of the course. The only way to learn advanced mathematics is to do advanced mathematics. Weekly homework assignments will be posted on the webpage most Wednesdays, and they are due in class the following Wednesday. A typical homework set will consist of a reading assignment, 5 exercises to be turned in, and a list of additional textbook exercises that you should complete for yourself. Please write your solutions clearly and carefully, using complete sentences to explain all steps of your proofs or computations.

If you have to miss class on the due date, you can turn in your assignment early to my box in the McAllister building. Solutions to homework will be posted after class on the day it is due, so late homework will not be accepted for any reason. Your lowest score will be dropped at the end of the semester.

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: We will tentatively have exams on the following dates.

Week 6: Exam 1, Wednesday Feb. 19
Week 11: Exam 2, Friday Apr. 3
Final exam: 4:40 PM Monday May 4 - 6:30 PM Wednesday May 6

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

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

Letter grades will be assigned based on the cumulative score; the ranges corresponding to letter grades will be determined based on the difficulty of the exams and the following rubric.

A: Able to perform basic computations in linear algebra and recite the definitions from the course. Demonstrates solid understanding of the theoretical aspects of the course.
B: Able to perform basic computations in linear algebra and recite the definitions from the course. Demonstrates some understanding of the theoretical aspects of the course.
C: Able to perform basic computations in linear algebra and recite the definitions from the course.
D/F: Fails to meet the expectations for a C.

Cumulative scores of 80/70/60 will receive at least an A-/B-/C-; however, the final breakpoints may be lowered slightly. Grade ranges will be discussed in more detail after each exam.

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.

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 Canvas) :