Monday, October 23, 2006

Atomic radii

Today was probably a breath of fresh air for a lot of folks as we considered determinants of 2x2 and 3x3 matrices, a topic familiar to most from Calc III and other classes. We did some pretty straightforward geometric and algebraic computations, and after the team quiz Konrad took over for a little while and presented work he'd put together over the weekend. By computing the volume of the unit cell in iron crystals and applying a little mathematical legerdemain involving the mass of such a cell and of a single iron atom, we were able to determine both the general crystal structure (body-centered) of iron, as well as the radius of the iron atom. Konrad did a great job in putting his material together, and he explained it well, too. He was a bit short on time, though, and I have a feeling not everyone picked up on all of the nuances of his material, so I'll soon be posting solutions to his exercises on the course website tomorrow.

I spent the weekend getting this coming Friday's classwork together. While I'm down at Clayton State University speaking on the large-scale geometry of infinite graphs, my 365 folks will be going over each other's preliminary reports and offering each other feedback on those reports. Now to choose a "facilitator"...

I decided this weekend that I'm going to continue this blog after the semester's over, at which point it will become a forum for discussing all of my classes. Next semester sees me teaching a section of Calculus I, one of Number Theory, and one on the Foundations of Mathematics. As much as I love teaching calculus, these last two should prove a laugh and a half. A good deal of fun! I'm already looking forward to continuing to work with several of the MATH 365 folks (not to mention one or two of those in Calc II right now) as they work their ways into my Number Theory and Foundations courses.

Well, until tomorrow's Problem Session, adieu!

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