21-260: Differential Equations


The subject of differential equations can be described as the study of equations involving derivatives. It can also be described as the study of anything that changes. The reason for this goes back to differential calculus, where one learns that the derivative of a function describes the rate of change of the function. Thus any quantity that varies can be described by an equation involving its derivative, whether the quantity is a position, velocity, temperature, population or volume.

There are three main ways to study differential equations. There are analytic methods, wherein a mathematical formula for a solution of a differential equation is obtained. There are Numerical techniques, which provide an approximate solution, generally using a computer or programmable calculator. Differential Equations can also be studied qualitatively, determining general properties of solution without concern for exact behavior.

In this course, we will emphasize analytic methods, though qualitative and numerical techniques will make brief appearances. Students who are interested in qualitative and numerical approaches should consider taking 21-124: Modeling with Differential Equations. This is a 3-credit course, meeting once each week on Thursdays.


The text for this course is Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems by C. Henry Edwards and David E. Penny.


Dr. David Handron
Office: WeH 6121
e-mail: handron@andrew.cmu.edu
Telephone: 268-5913
Office Hours: 3:30-4:30 Monday, or by appointment.

Teaching Assistants

Cristina Popovici
Office: WeH 6213
e-mail: cristina@andrew.cmu.edu
Telephone: 268-6828
Office Hours: 4:30-6:30 Tuesday

Adrian Tudorascu

e-mail: adriant@andrew.cmu.edu
Office Hours:

Ben Kane

e-mail: bkane@andrew.cmu.edu
Office Hours: 1:30-2:30 M, 2:30-4:00 Th

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