Math 386, Spring 2009

Advanced Topics in Abstract Algebra


Course description: This course will use what was learned in Math 385 to study some special and beautiful topics. During the first part of the course, we will look at Galois Theory and the amazing correspondence between the structure of field extensions and their groups of automorphisms. The theory has deep and striking applications to geometric constructions and solutions to polynomials. As time permits, we will discuss special topics from Group Theory, Linear Algebra, and Algebraic Combinatorics in the second half of the course.

Instructor: Barry Balof

Office: 236 Olin Hall

Location: 246 Olin Hall Time: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1:00-2:20 PM

Textbook: We will be using Ian Stewart's Introduction to Galois Theory for the first part of the course. Throughout the semester, you may find it helpful to refer to Contemporary Abstract Algebra, 5th ed. by Joe Gallian .

Homework: Homework will be collected weekly, generally on Mondays. I am happy to devote half of each Friday session to homework questions, as well as answering short questions daily in class. I expect that classes will be largely interactive and expect you to ask many questions throughout the semester.

Tests and Quizzes: We will have quizzes every other week, as well as a midterm and a final.

Grading: Grades will be assigned on a rougly 90-80-70 scale, with grades weighted as follows:

Grading: Grades will be assigned on a rougly 90-80-70 scale, with grades weighted as follows.
Homework and Class Participation 25%
Midterm 20 %
Quizzes  25 %
Final Exam 30 %

Academic Honesty: Students are allowed, and in fact, strongly encouraged, to collaborate on homework assignments. However, the work that you turn in must be your own. No copying from any source! Quizzes will generally be closed book/notes. On exams, you will be able to use your book and your notes only. Please SEE ME during office hours or at any other time for help.

Special Needs: Any student with a disability for whom special accommodations would be helpful is encouraged to discuss this with the professor as soon as possible.

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