MATH 420 Fall 2016 Section 2

This webpage contains information specific to section 2. This page is updated frequently; please peek in every couple days or so, and at least once a week.

Basic Information

The textbook for the course is Abstract Algebra by Beachy and Blair, third edition. We will cover the first three chapters, with some deletia. The prerequisite for this course is MATH 240. We will use matrices in some important examples, but the main reason for the requirement is to attempt to guarantee a certain level of "mathematical maturity."

Course Objectives

The student is expected to acquire an understanding of the elementary theory of groups, together with the necessary number theoretic prerequisites. There will be some discussion of the computational aspects of these topics, but the main thrust of the course will be theoretical. The student will be expected not only to follow the proofs presented in class and in the text, but also to learn to construct new proofs. Proofs must be logically correct and care must be taken to write precisely and in grammatically correct English.

Grading Scale

Grades for section 2 will be based on homework, a midterm exam and the final exam. The weights for these are 40%, 20% and 40%, respectively.


Homework will be collected once a week on Friday. It will be turned in at the beginning of class. You are free to work with other students on the homework; in fact, this is encouraged. Sloppy and/or illegible work will be returned back with no credit! Your homework is something of which you should be proud (notice how I didn't end with a preposition there). Expect to spend lots of time on it. The specific assignment for each week will be available on this webpage that Monday (see below).


The midterm exam will be during class on Friday, October 14. The final exam is from 4:00 to 5:50 p.m. on Monday, December 5. Here is what to expect, and a previous midterm.

The final will be similar. You can view a previous final exam as a study guide.

Homework Assignments

Daily Log

Numbers, Sets and Axioms

Homer does math!

Yes indeed, there's plenty of math humor to be found in the Simpsons. Just look and see!

Last update: November 30, 2016