Math 1600:

Totally Awesome Mathematics

Cornell University, Spring 2016

Course Information

TA: Valente Ramirez



Time & Location: TR 2:55-4:10,  MLT 406

Course Description: Mathematics is a broad and fascinating field that extends far beyond calculus and the high school curriculum. This course will introduce exciting mathematical topics to stretch your imagination and give you a feel for the great variety of problems that mathematicians study. Every Tuesday a different lecturer will present a new topic and give some fun problems for homework/discussions on Thursday. Math 1600 does not count towards any distribution requirements.

Prerequisite: one semester calculus (AP credit sufficient).

Grading: Math 1600 is S/U only. Your grade will be determined based class participation and homework completion, each of these having equal weight. Note however that in order to pass this course you need to attend to at least 10 of the 12 faculty lectures (i.e. Tuesdays sessions) AND submit at least 10 of the 12 homework assignments.

Homework: Assignments will be posted at the website when available and collected at the end of discussions on Thursdays. It is important to try to work out as many problems as you can before coming to discussions. You are encouraged to work with other students. Homework will not be graded for accuracy, just completion. The purpose of homework is to get you thinking about the lecture material outside the class and to reinforce your understandings of the materials. 

Exams: There is no such a thing in this course! =)






Jan. 26

 - No meeting -



Feb. 2

Robert Connelly

Shaping Pythagorean triples

Homework 1

Feb. 9

Tim Riley

Two-player games [hex1] [hex2]

Homework 2

Feb. 23

Alexander Vladimirsky

On shortest paths & optimal choices

Homework 3

Mar. 1

Tara Holm

Dance of the Astonished Topologist ... or why I left hexes and squares for math [Slides]

Homework 4

Mar. 8

Raul Gomez

A (very) short introduction to special relativity [Slides]

Homework 5

Mar. 15

Kelly Delp

Taxi-cab geometry

Homework 6

Mar. 22

Ravi Ramakrishna

Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk

Homework 7

Apr. 5

John Pike

A game show with goats, a girl named Florida, and other curious questions in conditional probability [Slides]

Homework 8

Apr. 12

Florian Frick

On coloring points and cutting cakes

Homework 9

Apr. 19

Laurent Saloff-Coste

Shuffling cards

Notes and homework 10

Apr. 26

Mike Stillman

RSA encryption

Homework 11

May 3

Karola Meszaros

Enumerative combinatorics

Homework 12