Math 405
Spring 2011
Course Description and Syllabus
Course title:
Linear Algebra
Class time MWF 12:00  12:50 pm
Class location: MATH B0421
Professor:
Mike Boyle
Office: Room 4413, Math Building
Phone: 3014055135
Email: mmb@math.umd.edu
Office hours: TuTh 11:0011:50, Fri. 1:302:30
Problem solving help sessions of Manjit Bhatia
Prerequisites.
MATH 405
is definitely a second course in linear algebra, and
therefore MATH 240 or MATH 461 is a prerequisite. As a
general rule, a stronger background is advised. MATH 405
is a serious proof course, like MATH 410, and covers a
lot.
Required text:
Linear Algebra, Serge Lang, Third Edition
Syllabus.
This course intends to put your understanding of
basic linear algebra on a very
solid foundation, and to teach you some important topics
not covered in MATH 240 or 461. In part, the course
will cover what you know, but from a more
thorough, rigorous and mathematical viewpoint. And in part,
you will see new things.
I intend to cover almost all of the text, with the exception of
the final chapter on convex sets. I also hope to use a week
for the important basic results on nonnegative matrices, which
are widely used.
Grading.
 20% Homework
 15% Quizzes (primarily on reading)
 35% Semester exams (probably three, with lowest
counting half as much)
 30% Final Exam
(The possible points in each category will be normalized at
the end to give the corresponding percentages.)
Course Grades.
Here is a grading curve:
A 85100%, B 7584%, C 6574%, D 5564%.
F 054%. It is possible that the curve
will be relaxed, but it won't be
made tougher.
Conflicts.
If you know before an exam that you have a schedule conflict,
contact me in advance.
Online grades. We will use the online gradesheet
provided by the mathematics department.
After giving me an alias you will be able to see your grades from a
link I'll put on the course website.
Expectations/philosophy. You are expected to
come to class, do the homework, and most important of all be
actively engaged in trying to understand.
Tips for success:
 Don't fall behind. (Make a regular schedule of work and don't
procrastinate.)
 Make friends. Help each other. (On homework, it's usually
best to try alone first.)
Course email.
I will use coursemail to email the class. You are responsible for
reading this email.
If you aren't getting the email, perhaps you need to
update your official email address.
It may take a little while for the update to go through.
You can send me an email address directly to add to my course
list, if necessary.
Academic integrity in this class.
(Follow the link.)
Religious observances.
If your religion dictates that you cannot take an exam or
hand in assigned work on a particular date, then contact
me at the beginning of the semester to discuss
alternatives. You are responsible for making these
arrangements at the beginning of the semester.
Disabilities.
If you have some disability related to testing under the usual timed,
inclass conditions, you may contact the office of Disabled Students
Services (DSS) in Shoemaker. If they assess you as meriting private
conditions and/or extra time, then you may arrange to take your tests
at DSS, with extra time as they indicate. You must arrange this well in
advance of a test (in particular: no retakes). Click to
Disability Support Services for further information.
Learning in MATH 405.
By far the greater part of your learning
will happen outside of class.
I won't cover in class all the things you must read and understand:

There isn't time.
 Usually we don't understand complicated arguments
"in real time" (i.e. as fast as the argument is presented at a
blackboard).
 It's critical that you learn to read mathematics and make
it your own.
I'll certainly give many proofs and explanations in class. But
I am thinking
of class more for giving context, interpretation,
extra material, things that
will help the reading and homework, and answering questions.
Because the reading is so important, there will be
quizzes, designed primarily as questions on assigned reading.
Excellent reasons for missing class or
not reading are addressed as follows:
I will drop the lowest two reading quiz scores.