M365G, Curves and Surfaces

  • Unique numbers: 55965
  • Lectures TuTh 11:00-12:30, RLM 6.116
  • Web page: http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/sadun/S12/Curves
  • Professor: Lorenzo Sadun, RLM 9.114, x1-7121, sadun@math.utexas.edu
  • Office hours: M 2-3, F10:15-11:15. I generally keep an open door and welcome visitors at all times.
  • Textbook: Elementary Differential Geometry, 2nd Ed, by Andrew Pressley.
  • Prerequisites: I am not enforcing any formal prerequisite for this course. However, you really should have taken M365C and M341 (or M340L) and done well.
  • Syllabus: Chapters 1-10 and 13 of the text. If we're ahead of schedule, I'll add some material from chapter 11. You can find an online day-by-day schedule here.
  • Homework and attendance: Homework will be due in lecture every Tuesday, except for the first day of class. 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.

    The purpose of the homework is to learn, not to show off and get points towards a grade. You are encouraged to work on problems in teams -- by far the best way to understand a problem is to explain your ideas to somebody else. If you get stuck, come to office hours or look at the solutions in the back of the book. (There are solutions to every problem there.) I would much rather you ask (or peek) and get an answer than that you stay confused. However, I expect on your honor that all work that you submit represents your true understanding. Getting help is OK; copying is not. (I've got no way to enforce the distinction, but your conscience does.)

    Each written homework will be graded on a 10-point scale. I'll drop one homework in computing your term average. At this time it's unclear whether I will have any help in grading; I'll do what I can.

  • Exams: There will be three in-class midterm exams (all on Thursdays) and a comprehensive final exam: Midterms on February 16, March 22 (right before drop day), and April 12, and the final on Monday, May 14, 2-5PM. These exams will all be closed book and calculators will not be allowed. However, each student will be allowed to bring a single letter-sized ``crib sheet'' (2-sided) to each midterm, and 2 crib sheets to the final. These notes must be HANDWRITTEN ORIGINALS - NO XEROXING ALLOWED.
  • Grading: Each midterm counts 20%. 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 is dropped, while if your worst score is the final, then the final only counts 20%.) If you miss a midterm exam because of illness, then that's the grade that gets 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 hypothetical class (which doesn't actually exist) that has M365G 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. My hope is to give mostly A's and B's.
  • Disabilities: 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
  • Drop dates: The deadline for dropping the class without the course appearing on your transcript is February 1. After that date, a "Q" will appear on your record. The deadline for dropping, period, is April 2.
  • 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.
  • Honor Code: The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the Universtiy is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community. See this column that I wrote in 2001 for my views on trust and personal integrity.