**49**

votes

**2**answers

911 views

### History of $\frac d{dt}\tan^{-1}(t)=\frac 1{1+t^2}$

Let $\theta = \tan^{-1}(t)$. Nowadays it is taught:
1º that
$$
\frac{d\theta}{dt} = \frac 1{dt\,/\,d\theta} = \frac 1{1+t^2},
\tag1
$$
2º that, via the fundamental theorem of calculus, this is ...

**30**

votes

**10**answers

2k views

### effective teaching

Eric Mazur has a wonderful video describing how physics is taught at many universities and his description applies word for word to the way I learned mathematics and the way it is still being taught, ...

**11**

votes

**3**answers

421 views

### Why does inconstructibility of $\sqrt[3]{2}$ imply impossibility of cube doubling? [closed]

In this question "constructing" and "doubling" is meant in the compass-and-straightedge sense.
On my desk I have five Basic Algebra texts treating constructability in the plane $\mathbb{C}$ or ...

**18**

votes

**18**answers

3k views

### Math books for advanced high school students

I'm working in a program for teaching a group of students selected in a Olympiad competition. The program is aimed to acquaint the students with the diverse aspects of higher mathematics in a way ...

**19**

votes

**14**answers

6k views

### “Homotopy-first” courses in algebraic topology

A first course in algebraic topology, at least the ones I'm familiar with, generally gets students to a point where they can calculate homology right away. Building the theory behind it is generally ...

**19**

votes

**6**answers

4k views

### an engineering Ph.D. teaching math in college

I have a friend who has been teaching college-level math (e.g., all levels of calculus)
for about 4 years, although all of his education, including his Ph.D., was in engineering.
Now he is ...

**51**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### What does it take to run a good learning seminar?

I'm thinking about running a graduate student seminar in the summer. Having both organized and participated in such seminars in the past, I have witnessed first-hand that, contrary to what one might ...

**47**

votes

**12**answers

7k views

### How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as a fraction?

I am teaching Calc I, for the first time, and I haven't seriously revisited the subject in quite some time. An interesting pedagogy question came up: How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

799 views

### Teaching the fundamental group via everyday examples

This question is a "prequel" to a similar question about homology. Both questions were inspired by seeing a talk, by Tadashi Tokieda, about the interesting physics that appears in toys.
What ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Bitcoin Research

I have recently been assigned to advise a student on a senior thesis. She has taken linear algebra, introductory real analysis, and abstract algebra. Her interest is in cryptography. And she has a ...

**6**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### The etale fundamental group of a field

Background and motivation:
I am teaching the "covering space" section in an introductory algebraic topology course. I thought that, in the last five minutes of my last lecture, I might briefly sketch ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Which universities teach true infinitesimal calculus? [closed]

My colleague and I are currently teaching "true infinitesimal calculus" (TIC), in the sense of calculus with infinitesimals, to a class of about 120 freshmen at our university, based on the book by ...

**21**

votes

**7**answers

7k views

### Collecting proofs that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic.

I teach elementary number theory and discrete mathematics to students who come with no abstract algebra. I have found proving the key theorem that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic ...

**54**

votes

**31**answers

34k views

### Why do we teach calculus students the derivative as a limit?

I'm not teaching calculus right now, but I talk to someone who does, and the question that came up is why emphasize the $h \to 0$ definition of a derivative to calculus students?
Something a teacher ...

**41**

votes

**46**answers

14k views

### An example of a beautiful proof that would be accessible at the high school level?

The background of my question comes from an observation that what we teach in schools does not always reflect what we practice. Beauty is part of what drives mathematicians, but we rarely talk about ...

**28**

votes

**19**answers

6k views

### Interesting applications (in pure mathematics) of first-year calculus

What interesting applications are there for theorems or other results studied in first-year calculus courses?
A good example for such an application would be using a calculus theorem to prove a ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

583 views

### Teaching stochastic calculus to students who know no measure theory (or PDE, or…)

I've got quite a challenge as my teaching assignment for the next Fall (not that I want to get rid of it, quite the contrary, but I still feel like asking for advice won't hurt :-)).
I'm to teach the ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

416 views

### A funny factorization of the Jacobian coming from the lines on the Fermat cubic

Here is something which came up in my algebraic geometry class, and I'm wondering if it has a deeper explanation. Let $F(w,x,y,z) = w^3+x^3+y^3+z^3$ and let $X$ be the cubic surface in $\mathbb{P}^3$ ...

**30**

votes

**21**answers

8k views

### Why linear algebra is fun!(or ?)

Edit: the original poster is Menny, but the question is CW; the first-person pronoun refers to Menny, not to the most recent editor.
I'm doing an introductory talk on linear algebra with the ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

188 views

### Total spaces of tangent/cotangent bundles in a course where all varieties are quasi-projective

$\def\PP{\mathbb{P}}$In a course where all varieties are quasi-projective (as in Shafarevich Volume I), I am trying to figure out whether I can justify talking about the total spaces of the tangent ...

**22**

votes

**17**answers

3k views

### What are your favorite puzzles/toys for introducing new mathematical concepts to students?

We all know that the Rubik's Cube provides a nice concrete introduction to group theory. I'm wondering what other similar gadgets are out there that you've found useful for introducing new math to ...

**34**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Are there any “related rates” calculus problems that don't feel contrived?

I just finished teaching a freshman calculus course (at an American state university), and one standard topic in the curriculum is related rates. I taught my students to answer questions such as the ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

185 views

### Lower semicontinuity of naive fiber size

I would like to present the following result in my algebraic geometry class, but it is seeming much harder than I would expect. Since my class is working with closed points over an algebraically ...

**4**

votes

**3**answers

543 views

### Higher dimensional Bezout via Hilbert polynomials: a reference

For the purposes of teaching my elementary course in algebraic geometry I am looking for a reference (or notes) that contains a complete proof of a higher-dimensional weak Bezout theorem. I only want ...

**14**

votes

**13**answers

4k views

### Category theory sans (much) motivation?

So I have a friend (no, really) who's taking algebra and is struggling to gain intuition for it. My story is as follows: I used to hate abstract algebra, with pretty much a burning passion, until I ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

221 views

### Simple yet interesting applications of Calculus or Linear Algebra to Economics [closed]

This is essentially a vast generalization of my previous question: Examples of separable ordinary differential equations in economics
I'm giving a talk to college-level math teachers on some ...

**20**

votes

**7**answers

1k views

### Conceptual algebraic proof that Grassmannian is closed in Plucker embedding

I'm planning lectures for my intro algebraic geometry course, and I noted something awkward that is coming up. We're starting projective varieties soon. Of course, we'll prove that projective maps are ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

2k views

### What is the geometric meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point? [closed]

What is the geometric meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point?
This question is now asked on the sister site: ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

737 views

### Can one live without actual infinity? [closed]

The title of this question is the exact title of one of the sections of a book written by Alexandre Borovik: Mathematics under the Microscope. Under the title, we read:
How should we approach the ...

**67**

votes

**20**answers

8k views

### “Mathematics talk” for five year olds

I am trying to prepare a "mathematics talk" for five year olds from my daughter's elementary school. I have given many mathematics talks in my life but this one feels
very tough to prepare. Could the ...

**12**

votes

**19**answers

8k views

### Textbook recommendations for undergraduate proof-writing class

I am teaching the proof-writing class (for the 3rd time) in the Fall and plan to buck the party line and use a different text than the default Bond and Keane. My parameters are as follows:
Logic, ...

**64**

votes

**23**answers

23k views

### What are the most misleading alternate definitions in taught mathematics?

I suppose this question can be interpreted in two ways. It is often the case that two or more equivalent (but not necessarily semantically equivalent) definitions of the same idea/object are used in ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

253 views

### Where can I find resources for creating a mathematics “bridge course”?

My department is in the very early stages of developing a "bridge course" or "introduction to proofs" course, motivated by our lower-level courses not currently doing a good job of preparing our ...

**13**

votes

**13**answers

4k views

### Looking for an introductory textbook on algebraic geometry for an undergraduate lecture course

I am now supposed to organize a tiny lecture course on algebraic geometry for undergraduate students who have an interest in this subject.
I wonder whether there are some basic algebraic geometry ...

**16**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Is $x \, \tan(x)$ integrable in elementary functions?

I'm teaching Calculus and my students asked me to calculate the integral of $x \, \tan(x)$.
I spent quite a lot of effort to do this, but I'm now even not sure if the integral could be presented in ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

953 views

### Can the unsolvability of quintics be seen in the geometry of the icosahedron?

Q1. Is it possible to somehow "see" the unsolvability of quintic polynomials
in the $A_5$ symmetries of the icosahedron (or dodecahedron)?
Perhaps this is too vague a question.
Q2. Are there ...

**3**

votes

**3**answers

316 views

### undergraduate handle decomposition. Reference

As the title says, I'm searching for a nice textbook for introducing the theory of handle decomposition of manifolds to undergraduate students.

**5**

votes

**2**answers

672 views

### An application of Maschke's theorem

I've been teaching some elementary representation theory to undergraduates, and want to provide applications of Maschke's theorem to complex group algebras to present in class. In particular, I'd like ...

**5**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### Suggestions for teaching advanced high school students

Hi all,
I'm a grad student and just joined a mentoring program in which I will visit a group of advanced year ten high school students (around 16 years old) from a group of schools in the area. I ...

**17**

votes

**9**answers

8k views

### Applications of knot theory

An answer of André Henriques' inspired the following closely related CW question. Parts of the following is extracted from his answer and my comments.
I regularly teach a knot theory class. ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

73 views

### Are injective modules flabby on basic open sets?

In order to give a simple proof of a basic fact about quasi-coherent modules (see below), I'm interested in knowing whether the following statement holds:
Statement: If $A$ is a commutative ring and ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

378 views

### Teaching profession:Differential Equations and Mean Value Theorems

Usually I teach Algebra,Algebra and Geometyry, Topology, at various University levels. This semester (Spring 2014) I have to teach Differential Equations to University second year students (4th ...

**3**

votes

**4**answers

453 views

### Understanding reasons for best constants in inequalities

Why, in functional analysis, is so important to calculate best constant in an embedding inequality?
Cross-posted from ...

**11**

votes

**9**answers

1k views

### math circles video lectures for school children?

Hello,
I am from India. I find the mathoverflow amazing.
I have a question: Are there any good quality video lectures on school math topics?
There are a lot of high quality lectures available on ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

679 views

### How useful/pervasive are differential forms in surface theory?

Every year I teach an introductory class on the differential geometry of surfaces, including numerical aspects (e.g., how to solve PDEs on surfaces). Historically this class has included an ...

**2**

votes

**3**answers

805 views

### Assessing effectiveness of (epsilon, delta) definitions [closed]

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in calculus and the student reception of them. The ...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### The harmonic (series) beetle: live illustrations of mathematical theorems

In my analysis class I use the following problem to illustrate the divergence
of the harmonic series (consider this as a hint for solving it).
Exercise.
A beetle creeps along a 1-meter infinitely ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

601 views

### Easy to state applications of dimension theory in algebraic geometry

Dimension theory is quite a sophisticated topic (at least for me), it is fully settled in Shafarevich's book on the first 100 pages.
Shafarevich gives two nice applications of the theory. 1) A proof ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

299 views

### Not quite adjoint functors

What are standard and/or natural examples of pairs of functors $F:C\leftrightarrows D:G$ and unnatural bijections $\hom_D(Fx,y)\to\hom_C(x,Gy)$ for all $x$ and $y$? Can one do this so that the ...

**10**

votes

**3**answers

579 views

### Calculus Teaching: Is it possible or desirable to give a severely abbreviated treatment of series convergence tests?

I will be teaching Calculus 2 this fall at a large U.S. state university. Our incoming students tend to have a limited or inconsistent background, which limits the amount of material we can cover.
...