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Final Project: Math 118, Fall 2011

Due: Monday, November 28th, 2011


As mentioned in the class grading policy, there will be a final project required for this
course. This project will be worth 30 points towards your final grade (which is out of 400 points).
Project Guidelines:
The theory and application of ordinary differential equations to real world problems is an
important part of this course. Students come into this course with different backgrounds and
interests. For a final project, you are asked to perform in-depth research on a particular course
related topic you find interesting. As an advanced mathematics student, it is important to learn how
to research mathematical topics independently and from non-textbook sources.
You are asked to select a specific theory topic or application of ordinary differential
equations. You must find at least two sources of information on the topic. At least one must be a
non-internet source. Consider using MathSciNet to find appropriate journal article resources. It is
not expected that you will understand every detail of journal articles that you read for this project.
The main idea is to learn how to read for main ideas in complex mathematics articles and be able
to relate these ideas to more basic concepts from this course. Just learning how to find primary
source information is a very important research skill.
For your project, you are asked to write a short (2-4 page) paper on your topic studies. This
should include a statement of the problem, necessary background information, and a complete
solution. You must cite all resources used and put all material into your own words. Also, you will
be asked to give a 6-8 minute presentation to the class on your work. The grading scheme for the
project is given below.
Project Topics:
There are two basic types of topics you could consider for your project. 1) An application
of course material to a non-standard real world problem of interest. 2) Exploration of an important
theorem or area of theory related, but not identical to course material. I will not give students
topics, but would be happy to help you find where to look for good topics and I can review your
topics for appropriateness before you begin working on them.
Grading:
Grades will be based on completeness, clarity, and mathematical correctness. Grades will
also measure the degree to which the student was able to express their own understanding for the
topic and its connections to the course material. Grades for each section of the project will be
broken down as follows:
Class Presentation
Clarity and Organization
Mathematics Content
Paper
Clarity and Organization
Statement of problem
Background material
Solution
Research sources

5
5
5
2
5
5
3