Introduction to Chaos and Fractals
As our primary text we will use Chaos, Fractals, and Dynamics:
Computer Experiments in Mathematics, by Bob Devaney. I would
like to cover most of this book.
We will also read Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick.
I have several goals for this course:
- I want you to gain a solid understanding of the basic mathematical
ideas behind chaos and fractals.
- I want to help you improve your quantitative literacy, problem
solving skills, and mathematical confidence.
- I want you to gain a sense of how math and physics is done, and
gain an awareness that these are not static, "dead" disciplines.
Your evaluation will be based on the following:
I will assign grades (for those who so opt) by following the guidelines
on page 8
of the COA Course Catalog. I do not have any quota of A's, B's, etc.
- Weekly Homework Assignments: 45 percent.
- Mid-Term Exam: 15 percent.
- Final Something TBA: 15 percent.
- Class Participation: 10 percent.
- Short Papers: 15 percent.
Policies and Stuff: First Draft
- The final version of this and related documents can be found on
the course web page, http://hornacek.coa.edu/dave/Teaching/Intro_to_Chaos.
- Homework will be due Fridays at the end of the day. More than one
homework assignment will result in me mentioning this in your
narrative evaluation and may result in a lowering of your grade.
- You are strongly encouraged to work together on homework. You
can also consult me, class tutors, other faculty, friends,
and family. However, the homework you hand in should represent
your own understanding. This means that if your friends get a
homework problem and you don't understand how they did it,
you shouldn't photocopy their solution and turn it in.
- The midterm will be open notes, open book, and (essentially) untimed.
You may not, however, get any help from any humans during the exam.
- I don't know what we'll do for a final thing: exam, paper,
project, ... ? We'll decide in the first few weeks of the term. I
want to get to know you better before deciding what to do.
- I will almost always assign reading for each class. You should
do the reading, and come prepared with some questions or areas that
you want to discuss.
- You will write three short (2 page) papers exploring ideas from
the book by Gleick. Information about what's expected for the short
papers can be found in a separate document.
- More than two missing homework assignments will result in a grade
no higher than a C.
- As I plan on sending out homework assignments and other
information via email, it is important that you check your email
regularly. Also, you will need to use the www for some of your
- I expect you to attend class and labs.
- Academic misconduct -- cheating, plagarizing, etc. -- is bad. Any cases
of academic misconduct will result in a judicial hearing, as per
pp. 14-15 of the COA handbook. Possible consequences range from
failure of the assignment to expulsion. For more, see the revised statement on academic
integrity passed by the faculty last winter.
[ Dave ]
[ Chaos and Fractals ]
[ COA ]
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