Ma 1a:  Calculus of One and Several Variables and Linear Algebra (Fall 2015-16)


Peter Burton will be giving a review session December 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 in 102 Steele wherever that is.

Request for Section Change



This course will introduce the mathematical method through (One Variable) Calculus.  By the mathematical method, what we primarily mean is the ability to express one's self with absolute precision, and then to use logical proofs to establish that certain precise statements are universally true.  We assume that the Caltech freshman has reasonable familiarity with single variable calculus as a computational system, but we emphasize explaining, or testing, why things work and how to justify one's propositions.  In Ma 1a, the underlying concepts will be stressed, as well as the need for checking the hypotheses precisely as to where the results apply.  A main focus will be on the writing of complete proofs so the case one is making is ironclad and unassailable.  It will emerge that when we do this, we actually know more than the standard computational aspects of single variable calculus and that we can answer questions which are new to us and come up naturally once all the terms in Calculus are carefully defined and the definitions used.  Some of these questions are also quite natural from the point of view of the scientist and engineer.

The topics listed below will be treated during the Fall quarter:




MWF 10:00 - 10:55, Baxter Lecture Hall.


Nets Katz

Course Secretary

Kathy Carreon
253 Sloan


Section 2 - TA Alexander McDonald
Office Hours:   Saturday 1-2 379 Sloan
, 626-395-3733
Thursdays, 09:00 - 09:55
159 Sloan
Section 3 - TA William Chan
Office Hours:Sunday 6-7; 160 Sloan
Thursdays, 09:00 - 09:55
257 Sloan
Section 4 - TA Karlming Chen
Office Hours:Sunday 2-3 Sloan 158
TBA, 626-395-4373
Thursdays, 10:00 - 10:55
11 Downs
Section 5 - TA Jim Tao
Office Hours:Saturday 7-8 ;Sloan 353
Thursdays, 10:00 - 10:55
119 Downs
Section 7 - TA Pooya Vahidi Ferdowsi
Office Hours:Friday 5-6 Sloan 379
Thursdays, 13:00 - 13:55
11 Downs
Section 8 - TA Nathan Lawless
Office Hours: Friday 4-5 Sloan 379

Thursdays, 13:00 - 13:55

107 Downs

Section 10 - TA Peter Burton
Office Hours:Sunday 7-8 Sloan 156
Thursdays, 14:00 - 14:55
11 Downs


Thursday 5-6 (but not on the first week!), Sunday 9-10



Homework is due Mondays at 10 AM and will be posted on the course website on Tuesday the previous week.  All problems may be done in collaboration with others.  However, each student must write down the solution in his or her own individual way, and there should be no two identical solutions to any problem.  Do not consult the solution sets from previous years in working this year's problem.

At most one late homework set will be accepted throughout the quarter, and only at your TA's discretion.  Arrangements must be made in advance with your TA, and the homework set in question must be submitted no later than Wednesday 10 a.m. of the same week.  Beyond this, late homework will NOT be accepted, without a letter from the Infirmary or from the Dean (or Associate Dean).  Every week, graded homework can be picked up from the TA during the recitation on Thursday.

Grading and Exams

There will be weekly assignments, as well as a Midterm and a Final examination, each of the Take Home variety lasting three hours.  The final grade (of P or F) will depend on a composite of these factors.  To be precise, the homework will be worth 40 percent, while the final and midterm will be worth 30 percent.  No one will be excused from the final exam.

The use of calculators, computer software, homework assignments and solution sets from previous terms, books and notes and or other such tools is NOT permitted on the exams.  Collaboration on exams is not allowed.

Collaboration is allowed on the homework but you must write the solutions in your own language.  Use of books and notes is allowed on the homework but you may not use solution sets from previous terms if they do the exact same problems.  Use of calculators and computer software is allowed for homework but you are encouraged (unless software is specifically mentioned in the homework) to only use these tools to check your work.


Please go to the recitations! Each week, a portion of the recitation will be dedicated to introducing some computational (or even theoretical) aspect which the Instructor will not have time to present in class.  In general, get to know your TA and bug him/her to death (figuratively speaking) with your questions, and try to fill in all the holes in your understanding.  Don't wait till the midterm to start doing that.

Extra Help: Tutoring is available for anyone who feels they would benefit from some extra assistance.




Apostol, Tom M., Calculus, Volume 1, 1991, Wiley, ISBN:   0-471-00005-1.

Katz, Nets Hawk, Official Course Lecture Notes (under construction).   This has the problems for your problem sets.


Date Description


Due Date Homework Solutions
October 5, 2015 problem set 1  
October 12, 2015 problem set 2  
October 19, 2015 problem set 3  
October 26, 2015 problem set 4  
Not due Practice problems for midterm    
November 9,2015 problem set 5  
November 16,2015 problem set 6  
November 23,2015 problem set 7  
November 30,2015 (extended to Dec. 2) problem set 8  
Final exam week practice problems