Math 594: Algebra II

Professor: David E Speyer

Winter 2020

Gauss's construction of the regular heptadecagon

Course meets: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 2:00-3:00 PM, 2866 East Hall

Office hours Mondays 3:00-5:00 PM and Tuesdays, 9:30-11:30 AM, in East Hall 2844. I am also glad to make appointments to meet at other times.

Professor: David E Speyer, 2844 East Hall,

Course homepage:

Level: Graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

Prerequisites: Prior exposure to the definitions of groups, rings, modules and fields, at the level of 593 or a similar course. Abstract linear algebra over an arbitrary field.

Structure of class: This class will be taught in an IBL style, meaning that a large portion of the class time will be spent solving problems that develop the theory we are studying. Students are expected to attend class and participate in solving problems, as the class will not work otherwise. Some portion of your grade will be allocated for participation in class work.

Homework: I will assign weekly problem sets, due on Wednesdays.

Exams: I plan to give two evening exams, in late February and one in April. The problems on the exams will be very close to problems from the class worksheets and homework; the goal is to make sure that you are familiar with these problems and how to solve them on your own.

Grading: I will apportion the grade for this course as 50% problem sets and 20% from each of the two exams, with the remaining 10% for class participation. I will drop the two lowest problem set grades.

Extensions: I will not provide homework extensions, but please do note that I will drop the lowest two homework grades.

Accomodations for a disability: If you think you need an accommodation for a disability, please let me know as soon as possible. In particular, a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form must be provided to me at least two weeks prior to the need for an accommodation. The Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office (G664 Haven Hall) issues VISA forms.

QR Exam: Many of the students in this course are preparing for the QR exam. This course covers the material from the Winter Term of the QR syllabus (and more). However, this is not a QR study course, and I would encourage students preparing for the QR exam to take additional past QR exams on your own. I am glad to discuss questions about those exams, in office hours or elsewhere.

Climate: Each of you deserves to learn in an environment where you feel safe and respected.

I want our classroom, the collaborations between my students outside class, and our department as a whole, to be an environment where students feel able to share their ideas, including those which are imperfectly formed, and where we will respectfully help each other develop our understanding. I want to provide a space where questions are very welcome, especially on basic points.

Please ask all questions you have; remember that every question you have is likely a question that many share. Please share your insights and suggestions, partial or complete. Please treat your peers questions, comments and ideas with respect.

Problem Sets

These problem sets are written by David E Speyer and released under a Creative Commons By-NC-SA 4.0 International License.

Homework Policy: You are welcome to consult your class notes and textbook.

You are welcome to work together with your classmates provided (1) you list all people and sources who aided you, or whom you aided and (2) you write-up the solutions independently, in your own language. If you seek help from mathematicians/math students outside the course, you should be seeking general advice, not specific solutions, and must disclose this help. I am, of course, glad to provide help!

I do not intend for you to need to consult other sources, printed or online. If you do consult such, you should be looking for better/other expositions of the material, not solutions to specific problems. Math problems are often called "exercises"; note that you cannot get stronger by watching someone else exercise!

You MAY NOT post homework problems to internet fora seeking solutions. Although I know of cases where such fora are valuable, and I participate in some, I feel that they have a major tendency to be too explicit in their help. You may post questions asking for clarifications and alternate perspectives on concepts and results we have covered.

Class worksheets

These worksheets are written by David E Speyer and released under a Creative Commons By-NC-SA 4.0 International License.

Below are the worksheets which we have used so far, and the worksheets which I anticipate using in the next few days. Feel free to look ahead at future worksheets before class. I do not promise to follow this schedule, but it is my best estimate.
Here is a complete file of all the worksheets, including two bonus sheets I didn't get to in class.