Math 190
First-Year Seminar in Mathematics
Fall 1999


James Bradley
North Hall-286, phone (616) 957-7104

Randall Pruim
North Hall-284, phone (616) 957-7113

The First-Year Seminar will be meeting from 3:30-5:00 pm on Wednesdays this fall. (NOTE: The time of the seminar was changed after the printing of the schedule you will receive as part of your registration materials, but it is correctly listed in the computer system.)

Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I get more information about the seminar?

    If you come for a passport session this summer or have some time when you arrive in the fall, stop by and chat with either Professor Bradley or Professor Pruim. You may also contact us by email. When you arrive in the fall you will probably also see some course announcement fliers hanging about to remind you about the seminar.

    Also, at our first meeting we will give some information about both the department and the seminar. So plan to come and check us out.

  2. I already registered during Passport, is it too late to join?

    No. You will be able to register for Math 190 when you arrive in the fall. On the other hand, if you have not yet registered and are interested in the seminar, you can save yourself a little bit of paperwork by registering for Math 190 when you register for your other courses.

  3. If I show up at the organizational meeting am I required to register and attend the seminar?

    No. Consider the first meeting your official welcome to the department. In addition to giving you some more information about the seminar (and pizza) we will also describe some other activities and events of the department (problem of the week, math competitions, fall picnic, etc.).

  4. Do I have to be a Math major to attend?

    No. Any student interested in mathematics is welcome to participate, regardless of intended major or profession.

  5. How long does the seminar last?

    The seminar meets each Wednesday for about 90 minutes (3:30 - 5 pm, give or take 5 or 10 minutes) throughout the semester.

  6. Do students get credit for participating?

    Yes (usually). The seminar is a 1-hour course (Math 190).

  7. Is there a charge for participating?

    No (usually). As long as students are full-time and under the 17-hour limit, there will be no increase in tuition for taking Math 190. Students with 17 hours already can choose between getting credit (and paying for it), auditing (and paying a reduced amount) or participating with out credit (and no increase in tuition). Students with 16 or fewer credits should register normally for the course.

  8. Will there be homework or exams?

    Not really. We will be doing some things during the seminar time and may give you some optional things to do outside of class, but there will be no exam and no graded homework. Regular attendance and active participation in the seminar are the only requirements. The seminar is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (i.e., pass/fail) basis.

  9. So why would someone want to take this course?

    For almost all college students who are interested in mathematics, science, or engineering, their only experience of mathematics in their first year is calculus. Calculus is an interesting subject and provides us the capability of doing some amazing things, but it is only one small slice of mathematics. 190 enables students to gain a much broader perspective on what mathematics is like and to enjoy doing some mathematics that is quite different from calculus.

  10. What sorts of topics will we cover?

    The specific topics for this year's seminar have not yet been chosen, but there will be quite a variety of topics. Each topic will be covered in one or two (perhaps at most three) weeks. For the most part we will develop some interesting mathematical tools that you may not encounter in your other mathematics courses. In addition to strictly mathematical topics, we may also discuss such things as job opportunities for people with mathematics majors (or just an interest in mathematics), math on the internet, etc. Although this year's topics will not be identical to last year's, you might want to look at last year's list of topics to get a feel for the kind of thing that might happen this year.

  11. Do we get pizza every week?

    Unfortunately not. Perhaps we can occasionally arrange for some sort of snack though. On the other hand, if the students spontaneously arranged for pizza on their own ... :-)

More information

More specific information on this year's seminar will be posted later this summer. You can look at last year's web page to get some feel for the seminar, but we will be adopting a somewhat different format from that used last year and will probably cover some different topics as well.

Page Created: Fri Jul 16 11:29:08 1999
Last Modified: 
Tue Jul 20 14:28:48 1999
Maintained by: 
Randall Pruim