MATH 420 Spring 2014 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.

The documents contained herein are all pdf files and require Adobe Acrobat (or something similar) to view them. Go back to the math department's course information page here for more information on how to obtain (for free!) Adobe Acrobat.

Basic Information

The textbook for the course is Abstract Algebra with a Concrete Introduction by Beachy and Blair, second 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, one midterm exam, and the final exam. The weights for these are 40%, 30%, and 30%, respectively.


Homework will be collected once a week, usually 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. Each of you must write the final version of the homework solutions separately and indicate the names of the students you collaborated with. Sloppy and/or illegible work will be returned back with no credit! You should be proud of your homework; 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 first midterm exam will be after we have finished Chapter 1. The final exam is from 2:00 to 3:50 p.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014. Here is what to expect. You can look at a couple of previous midterms from another instructor. The final will be similar. You can view a previous final exam as a study guide.

Homework Assignments

Third Edition - Black Cover

Second Edition - Gray Cover

Challenge Problems

Special Handouts

Daily Jokes

Homer does math!

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

Last update: Apr 15, 2014