Math 54--Linear Algebra and Differential Equations

MWF 9:10 am, 105 Stanley

Arthur Ogus

Linear algebra is the machinery that is used to understand systems of linear equations in many variables, as well as the geometry of lines, planes, and, in fact, linear spaces of any dimension. Linear phenomena are ubiquitous in nature and applications, and many nonlinear phenomena can be profitably studied by linear approximations. The first part of our course will deal with standard systems of linear equations and the matrix techniques used to solve them. As the course develops we will learn the geometric meaning of these technqiues and how to apply them to many other situations. The second part of the course will focus on linear differential equations and will assume familiarity with the content of Math 1B. We will discuss both ordinary and partial differential equations. Grading will be based on the two midterms, the final, daily homework, and frequent quizzes.

There are two required texts. The first is Linear Algebra with Applications, by Otto Bretscher.. We have arranged for a special paperback edition, containing only the chapters needed for our course, to be published by Pearson Custom Publishing. The second required text is Fundamentals of Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, by Nagle, Saff, and Snider, also in a custom edition published Pearson. Both texts should be avaialbe at the ASUC store.

Enrollment in this course is handled by the Head GSI, Aubrey Clayton. Here is the link for the enrollment web page. I can't make any guarantees, but it has been the tradition of the math department not to turn away students. Please do not ask me any enrollment questions; I will not be able to answer them. Barbara Peavy ( may be able to reassure you.

Study Group

The student learning center offers a study group for this course, which is highly recommended

Midterm I Information

The first midterm will be held on Friday October 5 during regular class hours. Recall that no notes, calculators, cell phones, or computers are allowed. Just bring pencils; we will provide paper. You will need to sit in a group with the other students in your section. I hope to prepare seating charts to help with this. Learn definitions, review the theorems ("facts"), and practice explaining homework problems. You will be expected to show your work and to write coherently.

Midterm 1 Solutions

Midterm 1 Grade Distribution

Midterm 2 Information

The second midterm will be held on Friday, November 16, during regular class hours. The same procedure and materials will be required as for the first midterm. For a sample midterm (quite challenging), look here.

Midterm 2 Solutions

Midterm 2 Grade Distribution


The final exam will be held in 1 Pmentel Hall, at 8:00 am, Wednesday December 19.

Practice Final

Practice Final Solutions

Final Exam Solutions

Grade Distribution


Course Syllabus

*Homework Assignments*--Note changes!!