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Unit of study_

OLET1625: Reading and Writing Mathematics

In the modern world it is increasingly important to be able to read and write logically and coherently. Whether one is designing computer algorithms, writing a legal argument, advocating for social or environmental causes, or doing research in basic sciences, clear and effective communication is critical. The aim of this unit is to identify and practice logical argument through mathematical writing. Key components of good writing and common pitfalls will be identified, and students will contribute writing samples and engage in peer-review. Students will be exposed to elegant writing samples and beautifully simple mathematical gems. For instance we read an essay on the notion of dimension: What is a 26 dimensional space? What does it mean for a fractal to have dimension 1.2619? Or we might read about Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, which has bearing on the limits of attainable knowledge. In the process students will also learn how to write and read mathematical proofs.

Code OLET1625
Academic unit Mathematics and Statistics Academic Operations
Credit points 2

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. identify good and bad mathematical writing with emphasis on common logical fallacies
  • LO2. have acquired the analytical skills required for a close reading of a mathematical text
  • LO3. have acquired the analytical skills required to improve your own writing
  • LO4. understand useful ideas from logic, the effectiveness of proper definitions, and the interaction between narrative and logic
  • LO5. critically examine mathematical writing tailored to your interests and prior experience
  • LO6. write coherent and well structured essays on mathematical topics
  • LO7. critique and review essays on mathematical topics.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.