Josh Laison
Math 130: Contemporary Mathematics

Course Procedures
Possible topics
Class Project Timeline
Class Project Guidelines

Course calendar:
Monday Wednesday Friday
Week 1 Jan 18: First day of class.
Math Puzzles Handout
Jan 20: Reading: Lockhart's Lament.
Reading assignment 1: Write a few sentences in response to each of these questions.
1. How is your experience of school mathematics similar to or different from Lockhart's?
2. In particular, do you have the same negative impression of mathematics he says students get from their school mathematics experience?
3. What do you hope to get out of this course?
Jan 22: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
No class today!
Week 2 Jan 25: Reading: Sixth Book of Mathematical Diversions: 9. Patterns and Primes.
Reading assignment 2:
1. Explain something in the reading you thought was particularly thought-provoking or beautiful.
2. Explain something in the reading you thought was confusing or difficult to understand.
3. Ask a question related to the reading but not asked by the author.
Jan 27: Problem assignment 1. Jan 29: Reading: Mathematical Circus: 13. Fibonacci and Lucas Numbers.
Reading assignment 3:
1. Explain something in the reading you thought was particularly thought-provoking or beautiful.
2. Explain something in the reading you thought was confusing or difficult to understand.
3. Ask a question related to the reading but not asked by the author.
Week 3 Feb 1: No assignments. Feb 3: Problem assignment 2. Feb 5: Reading: The Unexpected Hanging: 10. Rotations and Reflections
and New Mathematical Diversions: 2. Group Theory and Braids
Reading assignment 4: Same questions.
Week 3 Feb 8: No assignments. Feb 10: Problem assignment 3. Feb 12: Quiz #1 today.

Intro links:
The Nature of Things documentary about Martin Gardner
Die Hard Jug Puzzle
Prime number links:
Large prime numbers from the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search.
Numberphile video of the new largest prime
The Prime Number Theorem chart and graphs
The Clay Millenium Problems
Fermat's Last Theorem
Twin primes and the The Bounded Gaps Between Primes Polymath project
wolframalpha
Primality tests and the AKS Primality test
RSA
Prime cicada life cycles
Fibonacci number links:
The Fibonacci Association and Fibonacci Quarterly
Vi Hart's videos on Fibonacci numbers, part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Symmetry and group theory links:
Molecular chirality
The Classification of Finite Simple Groups
The Monster Group