Mathematics 113, Fall, 2013

Lecture 1: TuTh 11AM-12:30PM, 2 Evans
Lecture 3: TuTh 3:40-5PM, 107 GPB
Professor Kenneth A. Ribet
Telephone: (510) 642-0648
Fax: (510) 642-8204
Office hours (885 Evans Hall)
photo of Ribet at Calpalooza,
taken on August 23, 2012 as part of the Cal photobooth project


Abstract Algebra (third edition) by David S. Dummit and Richard M. Foote

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Rough course outline

  1. Group theory: sections 0.3 through 5.2
  2. Ring theory: sections 7.1 through 9.5
  3. Field theory: sections 13.1 and 13.2
This outline is subject to continual revision.


My exams tend to begin with some text along the following lines:
Please put away all books, calculators, cell phones and other devices. You may consult a single two-sided sheet of notes. Please write carefully and clearly in complete sentences. Explain what you are doing: the paper you hand in will be your only representative when your work is graded.
As in all upper-division courses, it is important that solutions be written in full English sentences and with ample explanations of what's going on. Please do not plan travel on the dates of these exams. If you believe that you have a conflicting obligation because of an intercollegiate sport or other extracurricular activity, please read these guidelines carefully.

If you are a DSP student, let me know ASAP, even if an official accommodation letter has not yet been generated.

Very old practice exams


Course grades will be based on a composite numerical score that is intended to weight the course components roughly as follows: midterm exams 17% each, homework 20%, final exam 46%. Is it Time to end letter grades?

According to the College academic calendar, the last day to add or drop Math 113 is Friday, September 27, i.e., the day after the first midterm. The last day to change your grading option is Friday, November 1, i.e., the day after the second midterm. Incomplete grades will be assigned only to students for whom a documented medical, personal or family emergency precludes completion of the course. Students receiving such grades are required to have been doing work of passing quality up to the intervention of the emergency.

You can calculate grade distribution for Math 113 through Fall, 2012 from schedulebuilder. (While visiting this site, you can check out my ninjacourses ratings.) As far as I can determine, the grade distribution has been as follows: 36.6% A, 30.6% B, 18.8% C, 14.0% D/F. I suspect that many of the F grades were assigned to students who "dropped" their courses after the official add/drop deadline.


Homework will be due pretty much every week, and usually on Thursdays. (There may be perturbations because of midterm exams and the Thanksgiving break.) The main point of the assignments is for you to internalize the concepts that we'll be discussing and for you to learn how to write mathematics in clear English sentences. It perfectly OK to discuss problems with other students (and with your instructor!), but you should write out your solution alone after you have figured out how a problem should go. If you choose to cut corners (e.g., by following closely a solution that someone else has written out), you will be short-changing yourself.
  1. Assignment due September 5, 2013:
  2. Assignment due September 12, 2013:
  3. Assignment due September 19, 2013:
  4. Assignment due September 26, 2013:
  5. Assignment due October 3, 2013:
  6. Assignment due October 10, 2013:
  7. Assignment due October 17, 2013:
  8. Assignment due October 24, 2013:
  9. Assignment due October 31, 2013
  10. Assignment due November 7, 2013:
  11. Assignment due November 14, 2013:
  12. Assignment due November 21, 2013: Happy Thanksgiving!
  13. Assignment due on December 5, 2013:

You are welcome to read the student evaluations for this course: morning, afternoon. The morning students liked me more than the afternoon students.

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