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
This is a 3-credit course, meeting once
each week on Thursdays.
Friday 9 May: Soutions to all three exams are available outside my
Thursday 8 May: Solutions to Exam #2 are available outside my office
Thursday 8 May: I have made some sample exam problems available on the
review page. Also available there is the formula sheet that will be given
with the final exam.
Monday 5 May: Solutions to Exam #1 are available outside my office door.
Monday 5 May: The Final Exam will be held on Tuesday 13 May,
1:00-4:00pm, in UC McConomy.
Monday 5 May: A review sheet for the final exam has been posted. It
will be updated as more information becomes available. I will post a note
here when I do so.
Monday 28 April: The Reading and Homework for Week #15 have been posted.
Friday 18 April: The reading and homework for Week #14 have been posted.
Note that this weeks assignment is fairly long, and one of the most difficult
you will have this semester. You should make every effort to begin early.
Tuesday 15 April: The reading and homework for Week #13 (and #12) have
Friday 4 April: A (preliminary) study guide has been posted for
next Wednesday's Exam. A
link is available on the Schedule page.
Friday 21 March: The reading and homework for Week #11 have been posted.
Have a good Spring Break.
Wednesday 19 March: I have made the grade distribution for Exam #2
available here. The mean was 73, and the
median was 76.
Thursday 13 March: The reading and Homework assignments for Week
#10 have been posted.
Monday 10 March: The reading and Homework assignments for Week #9 have
Wednesday 5 March: Someone left a cell phone in McConomy Auditorium
after the 10:30 exam. I have it in my office.
Saturday 1 March: The review page for exam #2 has been updated with
previous exam problems and Peng Yu's modified office hours.
Friday 28 February: A review page has been posted for Exam #2
(Wednesday 5 March). The page is available from the Schedule page.
Wednesday 26 February: HW#7 has been modified, as mentioned in class.
The problems from Section 5.5 have been removed. Four problems from
Section 6.1. have been added.
Friday 21 February: The Reading and Homework assignments for Week #7
have been posted.
Friday, 14 February: The Reading and Homework assignments for Week #6
have been posted. Pay careful attention. In addition to the problems from
the book there are three homemade problems. Also take heed of the notes at
the bottom as they pertain to the problems in the book.
Wednesday 12 February: If you have questions about the grading of your
exam, bring it to me (Dr. Handron) with a note indicating your concern, and I
will make sure it gets to the
appropriate TA for regrading or clarification.
Friday 7 February: My office hours on 11 February have been moved
from 2:00-4:00pm to (approximately) 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
Friday 7 February: I will be out of town on Monday, but Dr. Williams
and Caner Kazanci have kindly agreed to fill in. Mr. Kazanci will be
handling the 10:30 lecture, and Dr. Williams will cover the 12:30 lecture.
So don't be surprised when you get there and they are not me!
Friday 7 February: The results for Exam #1 are in. As a whole the
you have done very well. The mean on the exam was 84, and the median was 87.
The full grade distribution is available here.
If you did not get your exam in class today, you can pick it up next week.
Friday 7 February: The Reading and Homework assignment for Week#5
have been posted.
Monday 3 February: The due date and reading assignment for Week #4 have
Friday 31 January: Exam #1 will be held on Wednesday 5 February. See
the Schedule page for a link to the review sheet.
Friday 31 January: The Reading and Homework assignments for Week #4
have been posted.
Friday 24 January: The Reading and Homework assignments for Week #3 have been
Friday 17 January: The Reading and Homework assignments for Week #2 have
Wednesday 15 January: Classes have been canceled. HW#1 has been postponed for one week.
Tuesday 14 January: There have been some schedule changes for
Lecture 1 (10:30). Lecture 1 will meet on Monday 20 January
(Martin Luther King Day). On Friday 17 January, Lecture 1 will meet
only to turn in homework.
Lecture 2 (12:30) will meet normally on Friday 17 January, but will not
meet at all on Monday 20 January, in observance of the Martin Luther King
Tuesday 7 January: Welcome to 21-260. The first class meeting is on
Monday, January 13.