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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Mathematics (MATH)

MATH 437 Algebraic Geometry (3) Study of curves in the plane defined by polynomial equations p(x,y)= 0. Projective equivalence, singular points, classification of cubics.

MATH 437 Algebraic Geometry (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

The geometric study of algebraic equations is one of the oldest and deepest parts of mathematics, and it lies at the heart of modern developments in geometry, algebra, number theory and physics. Students completing MATH 437 will understand many new algebraic and geometric ideas by studying examples of curves defined by equations of degrees 2 and 3 in the plane.

Fist come conics (given by equations of degree 2 in two variables). Rigid motions, similarities, and affine transformations give different classifications of them. New ideas then show how to get a conic through any five points and prove Pascal's theorem about six points on a conic. Special cases suggest extension of the usual plane to the projective plane, with "points at infinity," homogeneous coordinates, and projective transformations.

The main part of the course turns to equations of degree 3 and their singularities, flex points, tangents, and degeneracies. Several new ideas, both algebraic and analytic, are brought in to prove the existence of complex flex points on singular cubics and then real flex points on nonsingular real cubics. There is then a classification on complex projective cubics by a single parameter and finally a full classification of all real projective cubics.

As time permits, relations to further topics are sketched: addition of points on a nonsingular cubic, Mordell's theorem, doubly periodic functions, and Fermat's last theorem.

The course is typically taken by mathematics majors.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Quantification
Effective: Spring 2009
Prerequisite: MATH 230 orMATH 231;MATH 311W

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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