Monday, January 01, 2007

280, Day One

I've hit upon a good (I hesitate to call it perfect) first-day activity for my 280 folks, the budding mathematicians being introduced to rigorous proofs for the first time.

We'll cogitate, construct, and verify the correctness of a theorem, a process which will involve sifting through a bit of empirical evidence, assembling from this data a hypothesis, shaping it into some meaningful mass with the help of a from-scratch definition or two, and demonstrating the validity of the resulting theorem with some careful logic and mathematically precise language. Emphasis will be placed on the "process" involved, including coming up with a hypothesis, expressing it with clear definitions, symbols, and terminology, and verifying its truth with a persuasive argument.

I don't want to give the game away completely, so I'll keep the topic under wraps for now, suffice to say it's a rather straightforward problem I'm sure everyone'll be able to handle.

In other news, I've finished my talk for the New Orleans meeting on the writing component of this past semester's 365 class. It was bloody hard to boil all that we did writing-wise in that course down into a ten-minute talk, and I hope what I've come up with does the trick.

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