matthias beck

some of matt's pictures

MATH 729

Communicating Mathematics

Spring 2016

Lecture MWF 10:10-11:00 BUS 106
Instructor Dr. Matthias Beck
Office Thornton Hall 933
Office hours Mondays 12-2, Wednesdays & Fridays 11-12, and by appointment

Course objectives. Communicating research-level mathematics in both written and oral form is a skill that enhances a mathematician's career greatly. MATH 729 is designed to help graduate students to develop this skill through practice. The objectives of MATH 729 include:

  • preparing students to write research articles and theses where they report their mathematical findings,
  • helping the students design oral presentations and a poster on their research, which will be used in campus- and CSU-wide student research competitions,
  • supporting the students to compose a research grant application, such as an NSF graduate fellowship grant application.

Good mathematics requires good writing, and writing is difficult. In this course, you will get a lot of practice writing.

Textbooks. There is no official text book for MATH 729, though there are many good resources which you should use, e.g.:

Assignments. Every student in the course will complete the following five main assignments:

  • Oral presentation
  • Poster presentation
  • Grant proposal
  • Expository paper
  • Substantial edits of a Wikipedia page

Regarding the last two assignments, every student will produce first drafts of both an expository paper and a Wikipedia page and then decide which one they will continue to work on for the remainder of the semester. Students will also peer review each others' writing. The writing assignments can be submitted either as a printout in class or as a pdf file emailed before class.

Here is a tentative schedule for the assignments:

  • Feb 8: Math autobiography
  • Feb 22: First draft of expository paper
  • Mar 7: First draft of Wikipedia entry
  • Mar 28: First draft of poster
  • Apr 11: Second draft of expository paper/Wikipedia entry
  • Apr 25: Poster
  • May 9: Grant proposal
  • May 23: Expository paper/Wikipedia entry

We will schedule the oral presentations throughout the semester. An abstract of your talk will be due a week before your presentation.

Grading system.

Oral presentation 15%
Poster 15%
Grant proposal 15%
Peer reviews 15%
Expository paper/Wikipedia page 25%
Wikipedia page/Expository paper (1st draft) 15%

I want to ensure that each of you accomplishes the goals of this course as comfortably and successfully as possible. At any time you feel overwhelmed or lost, please come and talk with me.

Fine print.
SFSU academic calender
BS rule
Academic integrity and plagiarism
CR/NCR grading
Incomplete grades
Late and retroactive withdrawals
Student disclosures of sexual violence
Students with disabilities
Religious holidays

This syllabus is subject to change. All assignments, as well as other announcements on tests, policies, etc., are given in class. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what's going on. I will try to keep this course web page as updated as possible, however, the most recent information will always be given in class. Always ask lots of questions in class; my courses are interactive. You are always encouraged to see me in my office.

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