Math 53 (Multivariable Calculus) Summer 2009
Introduction and Policies.

Intructor of record: Andrew Critch
Office hours: MWR 2:30-3:30 in 854 Evans
Email: critch at math dot berkeley dot edu

Welcome to the magical world of multivariable calculus! Multivariable calculus is better than chocolate, the internet, and love. It is also better than single variable calculus, which is not better than love.

Philosophy: My lectures will aim to be minimalistic but comprehensive -- I'll try to emphasize methods that encompass other ones and then go straight to examples, rather than focusing on many "special case" methods that you can learn from the text. I will only deviate from the text to make things easier for you to remember or tie together. The first week will be heavily focused on terminology, because in the past my students have said this was extremely helpful.

Lecture vs. discussion: I won't be adhering to a strict division between lecture and discussion time. To prevent insanity, some breaks will be inserted.

Reading: Take advantage of being a human! Understand things to help you memorize them, and memorize things to help you understand them. You have an unconscious brain that learns -- on the night before each lecture, I expect everyone to read (not necessarily understand) the upcomming text sections completely, focussing on key terminology so you can process the material faster when I introduce it. Fifteen minutes is enough for that; there's no need to overdo it, but definitely do it!

Participation: This means classroom involvement, attendance, and coming to office hours; participation marks will not be awarded generously! Please use your face in class: if you get it, nod your head; if it's so easy you're bored, nod faster; if you don't get it, look unhappy somehow.

Your attendance will be inferred when work is handed back and when you take quizzes. After receiveing a failed quiz/exam, please attend the very next office hours; I'll keep a record of this. Email is not practical for math questions, but will be used for announcements, so you are all expected to check the email you have registered on

Quizzes will usually be on Tuesdays and Fridays, except for on exam days. There won't be any makeup quizzes, but I'll drop your lowest two quiz scores. The quizzes should help make sure that you keep up with the material. Later parts of the course depend heavily on the earlier parts, so it can be hard to catch up if you fall behind!

Homework assignments must be submitted at the beginning of the lecture when they are due; this is partially to prevent students working on homework during lecture. Late homework will not be accepted. Homework is graded out of 20, with 10 points for completeness, and 10 points for two randomly selected problems.

You may check your answers to odd-numbered problems in the back of the book, but you need to turn in solutions, not just answers. Plagiarizing solutions from the internet, etc., will result in a negative grade for that assignment. You are encouraged to discuss the homework problems with your classmates, but you must write your solutions on your own. This is partially to prevent you developing a false sense of comfort and not realizing you can't do it until the exam.

Finally, to avoid making the grader miserable, 5 points will be deducted for violating any of the following easy-to-follow homework policies:

Exams: There will be two midterms, a final, and no makeup exams (see the grading scheme below, however). Irrespective of grades, missing the final will result in automatic failure of the course. Please check the date now to make sure that you can attend the final!

Calculators and notes will NOT be allowed for the exams. There won't be that much to memorize: around one or two key formulas per lecture, at most. You should review and be familiar with the integration techniques covered in Math 1B. To obtain full credit for an exam question, you must obtain the correct answer, put a box around it (otherwise box your piece of work closest to an answer) , and give a correct and readable derivation or justification of the answer. Unjustified correct answers will be regarded very suspiciously and will receive little or no credit. To maximize credit, cross out incorrect work. Grades will almost never be changed for "subjective" reasons, for the sake of consistency, but grades will be explained at request.

Disabled students requiring accommodations for exams must submit to the instructor a "letter of accommodation" from the Disabled Students Program two weeks in advance.

Grades will be calculated as follows, with the lowest of the first four 20%'s dropped:

I don't intend to "curve" any grades (except in the unlikely event that the median is above 85% or below 55%, in which case some adjustment may be necessary). This means it is more than worth your while to interact with each other and help each other learn as much as possible: you can all get high grades together! It also means I will do my best to give evaluations that are fair and seemingly feasible to past students.

Incomplete grades, according to university policy, can be given only if unantipicated events beyond your control (e.g. a medical emergency) make it impossible for you to complete the course, and if you are otherwise passing (with a C or above).