M408R, Calculus for Biologists

55425: TuTh 4-5, UTC 1.132

55430: TuTh 5-6, UTC 1.132

- We will be using the software package MATLAB a lot in this class.
- MATLAB Student costs $50. (It also comes bundled with Simulink Student Suite and add-ons for $99. We won't be using any of those extra items in M408R, but you may want them for other courses.)
- MATLAB is also loaded on all of the math department computers, and is free
for your use in any of the computer labs in RLM. However, that won't help
you when working on a worksheet in discussion section! When the worksheet
involves MATLAB, at least one member of your group
**must**bring a laptop or tablet with MATLAB to class!

In this class, you won't be asked to compute the integral of
the arcsine of x, or apply the limit comparison test for the convergence
of an infinite series. However, you **will** be expected to understand
what derivatives and integrals mean, how to get a computer to
approximate them numerically, and how
to model real-world problems using them.

Put another way, there are three questions associated with every mathematical idea in existence:

- What is it?
- How do you compute it?
- What is it good for?

- Close is good enough (limits)
- Track the changes (derivatives)
- What goes up has to stop before is can come down (max/min)
- The whole is the sum of the parts (integrals)
- The whole change is the sum of the partial changes (fundamental theorem)
- One variable at a time.

- You will be charged a one-time $25 fee to use this service, which is mandatory for this class. This is where you will find your learning modules, aka preclass assignments.

**No late work** will be accepted for any reason other than
religious holidays.
As noted elsewhere, I will
drop some of the assignment scores to allow for the fact that *stuff
happens*, much of it beyond our control.
Please do not ask
if I will accept a late assignment. I won't.

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 struggle with novel applications.
- A "C" means that you understand the techniques of the class well enough to handle a (hypothetical) class that has M408R as a prerequisite.
- A "D" means that you have learned a substantial amount, but that you are not prepared to take that hypothetical successor course.
- An "F" means that you have failed to grasp the essential concepts of the course.

Counselling and Mental Health Center

Student Services Bldg (SSB), 5th Floor

Hours: M--F 8am--5pm

512 471 3515

www.cmhc.utexas.edu

For what it's worth, I had serious anxiety issues myself about 10 years ago. I know how hard it can be. A combination of counselling and medication helped me turn things around. There is no shame in seeking help, and the upside can be enormous.