Math 220

Fall 2004

Professor Ben Ford

Office: Schulz cubicle farm (room 2009C, then room 2016B) #41

Phone: 664-2472


Text: Barnier & Feldman – Introduction to Advanced Mathematics . (2nd Edition)

Class times: Monday and Wednesday, 1:00-2:15, Darwin 143

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:15-3:00 (Darwin 127, the Math Lab); by discovery, or by appointment.

Cell phones should be off (not just put in silent mode) during class.

Tentative schedule and grading


What's this course all about?

In most of your mathematics courses to date, you've learned to use powerful mathematical tools to solve problems, and hopefully had lots of experience explaining and justifying your reasoning. This is a good beginning; and in this course we will formalize notions of mathematical reasoning and work on proof-discovering and proof-writing skills.

The famous Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös had a favorite command for mathematicians: “Conjecture and Prove!” summarizes the two most important activities of mathematicians: Coming up with plausible statements (making conjectures), and proving them true or false. We'll work mostly on the second stage in this class, but we'll work some on the first as well.

Formal mathematics begins with definitions, axioms, and rules of logic; and from these we establish other statements. The language we will learn is that of rigorous logic and of set theory, which underlies much of what you will do in upper-division math courses.

The only way to become good at understanding and creating proofs is to do it – lots!


M*A*T*H Colloquium – You should make this a regular part of your week. Especially relevant to you this semester are the talks on September 29, October 13, and November 17.

Other books:

I have put on reserve (3-day loan) in the library several titles which you might find useful. Go to and click on “Math 220” to see what's available. I might add more during the semester.