The South African Mathematics Olympiad

The South African Mathematics Olympiad is an annual mathematics competition for high-school students in South Africa. The competition is organised by the South African Mathematics Foundation, and comprises three rounds which increase in difficulty. The final round of the 2019 South African Mathematics Olympiad will take place on Thursday, 25 July, and the top ten junior (Grade 8 and 9) and senior (Grades 10—12) competitors will be invited to a prize-giving evening taking place on 14 September 2019. At the same time, the problem selection committee will meet to start setting the 2020 papers.

According to the SAMF, nearly 100000 students participated in the 2017 edition of the competition. The numbers for the 2019 competition are likely to be similar. These students all write the first round of the competition, which learners write at their individual schools in March every year. The papers are marked at the school, and any student with more than 50% is invited to participate in the second round of the competition.…

By | July 11th, 2019|Competition, English, Event, News|8 Comments

The Fundamental Theory of Calculus part 2 (part ii)

OK, get ready for some Calculus-Fu!

We have now said that rather than taking pesky limits of Riemann sums to calculate areas under curves (ie. definite integrals), all we need is to find an antiderivative of the function that we are looking at.

As a reminder, to calculate the definite integral of a continuous function, we have:

 

\int_a^b f(x)dx=F(b)-F(a)

 

where F is any antiderivative of f

Remember that to calculate the area under the curve of f(x)=x^4 from, let’s say 2 to 5, we had to write:

 

\int_2^5 x^4 dx=\lim_{n\rightarrow \infty}\sum_{i=1}^n f(x_i)\Delta x=\lim_{n\rightarrow \infty} f\left(2+\frac{3i}{n}\right)\frac{3}{n}=\lim_{n\rightarrow\infty}\frac{3}{n}\left(2+\frac{3i}{n}\right)^4

 

And at that point we had barely even started because we still had to actually evaluate this sum, which is a hell of a calculation…then we have to calculate the limit. What a pain.

 

Now, we are told that all we have to do is to find any antiderivative of f(x)=x^4 and we are basically done.

 

Can we find a function which, when we take its derivative gives us x^4?…

By | July 11th, 2019|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Undergraduate|0 Comments

The Fundamental Theory of Calculus part 2 (part i)

OK, now we come onto the part of the FTC that you are going to use most. We are finally going to show the direct link between the definite integral and the antiderivative. I know that you’ve been holding your breaths until this moment. Get ready to breath a sign of relief:

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, Part 2 (also known as the Evaluation Theorem)

If f is continuous on [a,b] then

 

\int_a^b f(x) dx=F(b)-F(a)

 

where F is any antiderivative of f. Ie any function such that F'=f.

————-

 

This means that, very excitingly, now to calculate the area under the curve of a continuous function we no longer have to do any ghastly Riemann sums. We just have to find an antiderivative!

 

OK, let’s prove this one straight away.

 

We’ll define:

 

g(x)=\int_a^x f(t)dt

 

and we know from the FTC part 1 how to take derivatives of this. It’s just g'(x)=f(x). This says that g is an antiderivative of f.…

By | July 11th, 2019|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Uncategorized, Undergraduate|0 Comments

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus part 1 (part iii)

So, we are now ready to prove the FTC part 1. We’re going to follow the proof in Stewart and add in some discussion as we go along to motivate what we are doing. What we are going to prove is that:

 

\frac{d}{dx} \int_a^x f(t) dt=f(x)

 

for x\in [a,b] when f is continuous on [a,b].

 

Proof:

 

we define g(x)=\int_a^x f(t)dt and we want to find the derivative of g. We will do this by using the fundamental definition of the derivative, so let’s look at calculating this function at x and x+h – ie. how much does it change when we change x by a little bit?

 

g(x+h)-g(x)=\int_a^{x+h}f(t) dt-\int_a^x f(t) dt

 

But remember that the definite integral is just the area, so this difference is the area between a and x+h minus the area between a and x. Which is just the area between x and x+h. Using the properties of integrals, we can write this formally as:

 

g(x+h)-g(x)=\int_a^{x+h}f(t) dt-\int_a^x f(t) dt=\left(\int_a^{x}f(t)+\int_x^{x+h}f(t)\right)-\int_a^{x}f(t)=\int_x^{x+h}f(t)dt

 

and we can write, for h\ne 0:

 

\frac{g(x+h)-g(x)}{h}=\frac{1}{h}\int_x^{x+h}f(t)dt

 

Restated, we can think of this as the area between x and x+h divided by h.…

By | July 11th, 2019|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Uncategorized, Undergraduate|0 Comments

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus part 1 (part ii)

OK, so up to now we can’t actually use the FTC (Fundamental Theorem of Calculus) to calculate any areas. That will come from the FTC part 2.

For now, let’s take some examples and see what the FTC is saying. I’ll restate it here:

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, part 1

If f is continuous on [a,b] then the function g defined by:

g(x)=\int_a^x f(t) dt,     for a\le x\le b

is continuous on [a,b] and differentiable on (a,b), and g'(x)=f(x).

——

Let’s look at some examples. We’re going to take an example that we can calculate using a Riemann sum. Let’s choose f(x)=x^2.

If we integrate this from 0 to some point x – ie. calculate the area under the curve, we get:

 

\int_0^x t^2 dt=\frac{x^3}{3}.

 

Make sure that you can indeed get this by calculating the Riemann sum.

So, what does the FTC part 1 tell us? It says that if we take the derivative of this area, with respect to the upper limit, x, then we get back f(x).…

By | July 11th, 2019|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Uncategorized, Undergraduate|0 Comments

Prime Suspects – The anatomy of integers and permutations, by Andrew Granville and Jennifer Granville, illustrated by Robert Lewis – a review

NB I was sent this book as a review copy.

What a spectacular book! I am rather blown away by it. This is a graphic novel written about two bodies discovered by cops in an American city some time around the present day, and the forensic investigation which goes into solving the case, and somehow the authors have managed to make the whole book about number theory and combinatorics.

I have to admit that when I started reading the book I was worried that it was going to have the all-too-common flaw of starting off very simple and then suddenly getting way too complicated for the average reader, but they have managed to somehow avoid that remarkably well.

It is however a book that should be read with pen and paper, or preferably computer by one’s side. As I read through and mathematical claims were made, about prime factors of the integers and about cycle groups of permutations, I coded up each one to see if I was following along, and I would recommend this to be a good way to really follow the book.…

By | July 9th, 2019|Book reviews, Reviews|1 Comment

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, part 1 (part i)

We’ve seen some intriguing things in this course so far, and we’ve developed some clever tricks, from how to find the gradient of just about any function we can throw at you, to proving statements to be true for an infinite number of cases.

To some extent, this is what we have looked at so far (at least in terms of calculus, and building up to calculus):

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 16.06.58

However, we’re about to see some magic. We’re about to see the most important thing yet on this course, and indeed one of the most important moments in all of mathematical history.

We are going to see…actually, we are going to prove, that there is a relationship between rates of change and the area under a graph. This doesn’t sound that amazing, but its consequences have essentially allowed for the development of much of modern mathematics over the last 350 years.

The link that we are going to prove will allow us to find the area under graphs of functions for which taking the Riemann sum would be really hard.…

By | July 9th, 2019|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Uncategorized, Undergraduate|1 Comment

From Novice to AI with Wolfram Language

I have been publishing a series of Wolfram language lectures for some time now on this platform, I think we have about 6 lessons so far. I had written a full Wolfram Notebook for a course on Wolfram language programming and Artificial Intelligence I first taught at Kaduna State University Nigeria and decided to share them here.

The course is fast paced and takes you from Novice to AI practitioner in the shortest time possible. I taught this course over a period of 3 days so it is really fast paced. Enjoy!

Follow the link to see the lecture with Wolfram Notebook From Novice to AI

By | June 24th, 2019|Mathematica, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Deborah Kent (Drake University) Omar Khayyam’s Geometrical Solution of the Cubic: An Example of Using History in the Teaching of Mathematics

Second talk at the Diversifying the curriculum conference in Oxford.

The following was taken down live, and as such there may be mistakes and misquotes. It is mostly a way for me to keep notes and to share useful resources and thoughts with others. As such, nothing should be used to quote the speaker from this article

From https://www.drake.edu/math/faculty/deborahkent/

From https://www.drake.edu/math/faculty/deborahkent/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to generate interesting conversations with students surrounding mathematical diversity.

Historical figures (From wikipedia):

Omar Khayyam 18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. He was born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade.

As a mathematician, he is most notable for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations, where he provided geometric solutions by the intersection of conics.

June Barrow-Green (The Open University) Towards a diversity resource for undergraduate mathematics

First talk at the Diversifying the curriculum conference in Oxford.

The following was taken down live, and as such there may be mistakes and misquotes. It is mostly a way for me to keep notes and to share useful resources and thoughts with others. As such, nothing should be used to quote the speaker from this article

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Barrow-Green

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Barrow-Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When reading through the Open University’s textbook “Pure Mathematics M208”, in the historical margin notes, the only female mathematician was Emmy Noether. The vast majority of characters were white European men.

The question is how do we create a resource which can tackle issues of diversity in mathematics? This is a recent project begun by June Barrow Green.

It is important to avoid tokenism when thinking about diversity.

Athena Swan – ECU Gender charter – a very useful resource for statistics about women in STEM

What do we mean by diversity: Ethnicity, gender, culture/ Images of mathematicians, who are the students?…

By | June 18th, 2019|Conference, Diversifying the curriculum|0 Comments