# MAT 131, Spring 2003 Course Description

## Welcome to calculus!

Calculus is the mathematics of change and motion, of limits and areas. Although its beginnings go back to Archimedes in ancient times (around 225 BC), it was not well-developed until after the Renaissance, at the time of Newton and Leibnitz (late 1600's). From the fact that the development took this long, one might surmise that Calculus is a major intellectual advance. Indeed its mastery requires something quite different from previous mathematics, the notions of limits or infinitesimals. Because of this you should not be surprised to find that calculus is not easy.

On the other hand today over 300 years after calculus was developed, we are in an age where some of its basic notions are everywhere.   The applicability of calculus is so broad that fluency in it is essential for a successful career in science, engineering or medical technology. The goal of MAT 131 is to develop your understanding of the concepts of calculus and to develop your ability to apply them to problems in mathematics, science, and engineering.

The basic objects of study in calculus (indeed, in much of mathematics) are functions. In this course, functions are presented and analyzed from several points of view: as symbolic formulae, as graphs, as numerical data, and as relationships between quantities arising in applications. Similarly, the three main concepts of calculus (limits, derivatives, and integrals) are studied from these vantage points. All of these approaches to understanding are essential.

Learning mathematics involves both achieving a deep understanding of concepts and learning new skills.  Your instructors can help you with both of these, but ultimately your learning is your responsibility.  A deep understanding can be achieved by reading about, thinking about, and experimenting with the ideas of calculus.  Skills can only be developed through practice .

Prerequisites: You must have completed either MAT 123 or MAT 130 or have received a score of 5 or better on the Mathematics Placement Examination (MPE) administered by the Department of Mathematics to all incoming freshmen. Other Mathematics and Calculus courses are more suitable if you received a lower (or higher) MPE score; see the document ``First Year Mathematics at Stony Brook'' .

Text: The required textbook is Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, Single Variable, Second Edition by James Stewart. You should read the assigned sections before the lecture! Reading the textbook will greatly increase your comprehension of the lectures and enable you to ask useful questions in class. Furthermore, the lecturers and recitation instructors will not always be able to cover all of the subject material for which you will be responsible.

It is a good idea to form a regular study group of 3-4 people with whom you work on homework problems.  When you are stuck on a problem, you have someone to ask immediately for help, and explaining ideas to others in your group helps you to clarify them yourself.  If your whole group has trouble on a certain problem, get help from your recitation instructor, your lecturer, your classmates, or from tutors in the Math Learning Center . However, you must write up the solutions to homework problems yourself.  Simply copying someone else's solution and putting your name on it is a bad idea. Students who regularly do their homework by copying from friends invariably do poorly on exams.

Examinations: The examinations are common to all sections of MAT 131. There will be an early midterm exam, two evening examinations, and a final examination, scheduled as follows.

 Early Exam: Wed Feb 5 8:30pm Midterm 1: Thur Feb 27 8:30pm Midterm 2: Tues Apr 15 8:30pm Final: Friday May 16, 2-4:30 pm

Make sure that you can attend the exams at the scheduled times; make-ups will not be given. If you have evening classes, resolve any conflicts now. If one midterm exam is missed because of a serious (documented) illness or emergency, the semester grade will be determined based on the balance of the work in the course.

Exam locations will be announced in this website. A week before the exam (not before), it will be announced whether calculators are or not allowed.

The Early Midterm Exam is designed to test topics with which you are already fairly familiar, and which will be crucial to your success in MAT 131. This should help you to get into good study habits right away, as well as get some feedback early on about whether MAT 131 is the best class for you this semester. Consult the document ``Early Midterm Exam'' for more information, including a list of topics and on-line practice examinations.

When studying for exams, it is a good idea to review the topics that will be tested, then to do many practice problems.  Working most on the problems that you liked the least on the homework is often a good strategy.  When taking the exam, look over all of the problems and do the easiest ones first.  Then go back and spend time on harder problems.  Allow yourself time at the end to read over your solutions and check for "dumb mistakes."

Late Drop Down period: Students are permitted to switch from MAT 122, 123, 125, 126, 127, 131, 132, 141, or 142 to a lower level course as late as Friday, March 7, 2003. The date is arranged to come after both the early exam and the first midterm, so you will have definite feedback on your performance by then.  If you do either very well or very badly on the early exam or on the first midterm, do not be shy about asking your instructor, your TA, or an advisor in the Undergraduate Mathematics office (Math P-143) for advice!

Quizzes: Once every two weeks, a quiz will be administered in your recitation. Each quiz will consist of a few short questions based on the reading for that week. The results will be used in determining your recitation grade.

 Recitation Grade: 20% Early Midterm Exam: 10% Midterm Exam I: 20% Midterm Exam II: 20% Final Exam: 30%

The web site ` http://www.math.sunysb.edu/~moira/mat131/` will be maintained with up-to-date information concerning MAT 131. In particular, check there for homework assignments and announcements .