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MTH1122 - The nature and beauty of mathematics

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Dr Burkard Polster


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit is intended for students with little or no mathematical background. Through the discussion of historical, practical and conceptual questions, it will emphasise the beauty and the power of mathematics. The number of topics covered will be very broad. These will include, amongst others: irrational numbers and the Pythagorean theory of music; Fermat's last theorem; Moebius bands, Klein bottles and beyond; three and four dimensional worlds; mapping the Earth and mapping the Universe.


On completion of this unit students will have an appreciation of the beauty and the power of mathematics; understand the fundamental concepts of number theory and geometry; appreciate the notion of proof in mathematics and be able to carry out basic proofs; appreciate the historical interplay between mathematics and attempts to understand the physical world; know of some of the great unsolved problems in modern mathematics; be able to impress their friends at parties.


Examination (3 hours): 40%
assignments: 30%
mid-semester test (2 hours) or essay (1500 words): 30%

Contact hours

two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour support class per week