Spring semester 1999

Text: Calculus Made Easy by Sylvanus P. Thompson and Martin Gardner

Time: MWF 8:35-9:25 JFB B1

Instructor: Professor Nick Korevaar

Web Page:http://www.math.

Office: JWB 218

Office Hours: MWF 9:30-10 a.m., T 9-10:30 a.m., MW 2-2:30 p.m., and by appointment

Informal problem session: Saturdays JWB 208, 10-11 a.m.

Telephone: 581-7318



Students will need to be able to do algebra at the level of Math 1010, ``Intermediate Algebra,'' in order to succeed in Math 1080. You may wish to use the Math 1030 diagnostic test to test your readiness. If you have doubts, please consult with me.

Course summary:

The purpose of this course is to study the key concepts of Calculus, to get a perspective on the scientific problems that led to its discovery, and maybe a hint of its uses today. ``Calculus'' was a mysterious and frightening word to college students back in 1910 when our textbook was first published, and the word manages to elicit similiar responses today. The original author of our textbook, Sylvanus P. Thompson, was reknowned in his day as an expositor of this field, and the second author, Martin Gardner, is well-known for his books and columns which try to explain mathematics to a broad audience. You will learn how to do and understand Calculus computations, using this textbook. You will have to judge at the end of the course whether or not it was actually ``easy.''

As Thompson indicates on page 38, one use of ``Calculus'' is to quickly calculate quantities which would otherwise be too tedious to compute. Well, in present times some of these tedious computations can be done with a calculator or a computer . . . and computer software can do computations using Calculus as well. We will visit the Mathematics Computer lab several times to work with mathematical software, specifically the package known as MAPLE. These visits should provide an interesting counterpoint to our text.

This course is intended for non-science majors who wish to get a meaningful introduction to the ideas and techniques of Calculus. It is a Science Foundation course and a Quantitative Reasoning A course. We will study only a subset of the applications which are found in standard Calculus texts: this course is not intended to prepare one for Science and Engineering courses which require the usual Calculus sequence as a prerequisite. It is intended to give one an appreciation for the Calculus concepts which underlie most quantitative attempts to model real-world science.

There is a Math Department tutoring center for Calculus courses, staffed by graduate students. It is located in Building 129, between JWB and LCB, on President's Circle. Its hours are MTWTh 8:30-7, F 8:30-2, in room 259. The Computer Lab is also in Building 129, in room 264.


There will be weekly homework assignments, consisting of reading, problems from the text or handouts, or computer work. These problems will be collected each Friday, after having been assigned the preceeding Friday, Monday, Wednesday. A cumulative list of homework problems is located at

There will be two in-class midterm exams (Wednesday February 17th and Wednesday April 7th), and an in-class final exam (Monday May 3rd, 7:30-9:30 a.m.). You will complete a written project (approximate length 5 pages), with a topic chosen from an approved list, or approved in advance by me. This list has not been created yet, but papers will be historical, biographical, or will investigate mathematical topics which expand upon the course material. The project will be due on Wednesday April 28th. Your grade will be assigned as follows: homework 20%, midterm exams 20% each, written project 20%, final exam 20%.

It is the Math Department policy, and mine as well, to grant any withdrawal request until the University deadline of Friday March 5th.

ADA statement:

The American with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning, and psychiatric disabilities. Please contact me at the beginning of the semester to discuss any such accommodations for the course.