M408N, Differential Calculus for Scientists
Unique numbers: 54850, 54855, 54860
Lectures TuTh 11:00-12:30, JGB 2.216
54850: MW 9-10, CBA 4.344
54855: MW 12-1, RLM 7.124
54860: MW 3-4, JES A303A
Professor: Lorenzo Sadun, RLM 9.114, x1-7121,
Andrew Kontaxis, RLM 11.130,
Sadun office hours: W 10-11, Th 2-3. I generally keep an open
door and welcome
visitors at all times.
Kontaxis office hours: M10:30-12, F 2-3:30
Textbook: Calculus, Early Transcendentals, by Stewart, 7th edition.
Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students
in the College of Natural Sciences who have scored 70% or higher on the
ALEKS assessment. If you do not meet these conditions, you will be dropped
from the class around August 29 or 30.
Syllabus: The beginning through Section 5.3 of the book,
with occasional skipped
sections. You can find an online day-by-day schedule
Philosophy: Calculus has a reputation of being a hard class
that features a million different equations to be memorized. There are
a lot of formulas and techniques, but almost everything boils down to
six simple ideas. The purpose of lecture is
to explain those ideas, and to explain how each new formula or technique
follows naturally from those ideas. The purpose of the homework is to
formulas and techniques. The purpose of discussion sections,
and of office hours, is
to talk one-on-one with a mathematician about whatever isn't clear. Think
of it as free tutoring by expert tutors, and don't skip class.
Homework and attendance:
Homework will be due in lecture every day, except
for exam days and the first day of class. That's 25 assignments.
See hw.html for the latest information.
Late homework will not
be accepted, even a few minutes after class is over,
unless you are sick or have made prior arrangements with me.
In other words, you must attend class every day!
The homework is divided roughly 50-50 between written homework, based on
problems in the book, and online homework with the Quest system. The
written homework will be collected in lecture and distributed in discussion.
The online homework will typically be due the night before the written
homework is due.
Each written homework will be graded on a 10-point scale. 5 of those points
will be for completing all of the problems. 5 points are for the accuracy of
your solution to one selected problem. If you work the "problem of the day"
in discussion section and turn in your solution with your homework, you
will automatically get the full 5 points for accuracy.
At the end of the semester I will drop your lowest three Quest scores
and your lowest three written homework scores, and average the rest.
Discussion Sections: The discussion sections are an important
part of the course, where you will be able to work in small supervised
groups and get the hang of whatever you are having trouble with. Part of
each discussion will be devoted to working a "problem of the day".
Exams: There will be two in-class midterm exams, on
Tuesday September 27 and Thursday October 27 (right before drop day),
plus a final exam on Tuesday morning, December 13, 9-12.
These exams will all
be closed book and calculators will not be allowed.
However, each student will be allowed to bring a single
``crib sheet'' (2-sided) to each midterm, and 2 crib sheets to the
These notes must be HANDWRITTEN ORIGINALS - NO XEROXING ALLOWED.
Grading: Each midterm counts 30%. The final exam counts 40%.
The homework, taken together, counts 20%. At the end of the term I will
drop your lowest 20%. (For instance, if your worst score is a midterm, then
that midterm only counts 10%, while if your worst score is the final, then
the final only counts 20%.) If you miss a midterm exam because of illness,
then your grade will be based 25% on the other midterm, 50% on the final and
25% on the homework, with no grades dropped.
The final grade distribution is neither a straight
scale nor a fixed curve. The cutoffs will be set at the
end of the semester, based on overall class performance, with the
following qualitative standard for the major grades (with obvious
adjustments for plusses and minuses):
An "A" means that you understand the ideas of the course well enough
that you can use them even in unusual settings.
A "B" means that you can do the standard problems we have done during
the semester, but can't do anything new.
A "C" means that you understand the techniques of the class well enough
to handle a class (such as M408S) that has M408N as a prerequisite.
A "D" means that you have learned a substantial amount, but that you are
not prepared to take that successor course.
An "F" means that you have failed to grasp the essential
concepts of the course.
Grading isn't an exact science, and all I'm going to do is adjust
cutoffs. Nobody will leapfrog anybody else. If you have more points
than your buddy, then your grade will be at least as good as your
buddy's, no matter what my general impressions of the two of you are.
Furthermore, a 90% average will guarantee you at least an A-, an 80%
average a B-, and a 70% average a C-. Most of the time, my cutoffs are
significantly more lenient than that.
The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate
academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For
more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at
471-6259, 471-4641 TTY
Quest Fees: This course makes use of the web-based Quest content
delivery and homework server system maintained by the College of Natural
Sciences. This homework service will require a $22 charge per student.
Please go to quest.cns.utexas.edu
to log into the Quest system for this class. After the 12th class day, you
will be asked to pay via credit card.
Drop dates: The deadline for dropping the class without the course
appearing on your transcript is September 9. After that date, a "Q" will
appear on your record. The deadline for dropping, period, is November 1.
Religious Holidays: I have tried to schedule major class
events to avoid major religious holidays, and I apologize if I overlooked
something. If you expect to miss class
or miss an assignment because of a religious holiday, please let me
know 14 days in advance, and you will be given the opportunity to make
up the missed work within a reasonable time.