Syllabus
Also PDF brochure form of the syllabus is still in the process of being updated.Course name
Multivariable Calculus Math 21a,, Harvard College/GSA: Course ID 119196, Exam Group FAS05_A,Fall 2017/2017, This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning (previously called Core area requirement for Quantitative Reasoning).Course head
Oliver Knill, knill@math.harvard.edu, SC 432, Harvard UniversityMeeting time
After a short intro meeting on Wednesday, August 30, 8:309:00 AM, Science Center B, which all students attend, classes are taught in sections on MWF 9,MWF 10,MWF 11, MWF 12, TuTh 1011:30, TuTh 11:301. Our "teaching in section" approach has been praised for the last decade. It is more expensive and requires coordination but it has proven to build closer relationships with the instructor, allowing discussing the material in a Socratic manner, also one by one in office hours and have instructors knowing you in person. There are global reviews and a Mathematica workshop which are taught for the entire course. Classes in individual sections start on on Wednesday, September 7th, for the MWF sections and Thursday, September 8th for the TTh sections. More information about sectioning.Problem sessions
Course assistants will run additional problems sessions. It is highly recommended to use this time for discussing the material.Office hours
Office hours of all the teaching staff will be posted. You are welcome to join any of the office hours.MQC
The Math question center (MQC) is a place, where you can hang out to work on your course work. The MQC takes place SunThu 8:3010:30 PM in SC 309. ( The MQC is in 309! We switched rooms with the course Math 1b during the semester) The MQC will open on Thursday, September 7, 2017 and stay open until December 3, 2017.Prerequisite A solid single variable calculus background is required. The mathematics department provides advising resources if you are unsure. You can also check with the course head of this course.
The course
Multivariable calculus is a fundamental pillar for many other things:It extends single variable calculus to higher dimensions. You will see that the structures are much richer than in single variable and that the fundamental theorem of calculus generalizes to higher dimensions.
It provides vocabulary for understanding fundamental processes and phenomena. Examples are planetary motion, economics, waves, heat, finance, epidemiology, quantum mechanics or optimization.
It teaches important background needed in social sciences, life sciences and economics. But it is rigorous enough that it is also suited for students in core sciences like physics, mathematics or computer science.
It builds tools for describing geometrical objects like curves, surfaces, solids and intuition which is needed in other fields like linear algebra or data analysis. Geometry is currently extremely hot: tomography methods in medicine, computer games, google earth, social network analysis all use geometry.
It relates to culture and history. The quest for answering questions like "where do we come from", "what will future bring us", "how can we optimize quantities" all use calculus. They were the motor to develop it. Euler, the inventor graph theory for example knew geometry and calculus well. The history of calculus contains fascinating stories, starting from Archimedes, 2300 years ago up to the modern times, where new branches of multivariable calculus are developed to understand the structure of nature.
It develops problem solving methods. Examples are optimization problems with and without constraints (which is the bread and butter for exconomics), geometric problems, computations with scalar and vector fields, area and volume computations.
It makes you acquainted with a powerful computer algebra system which allows you to see the mathematics from a different perspective. Such systems are more and more needed for visualization, experimentation and to build laboratories for your own research. No programming experience is required however. We will provide templates and get you started with a workshop.
It prepares you for further study in other fields. Not only in mathematics and its applications, but also in seemingly unrelated fields like game theory, probability theory, discrete mathematics, sociology, or number theory, where similar structures and problems appear, even in a discrete setting. Without geometric intuition and paradigms learned in calculus, it is rather hard to work in those fields.
It improves thinking skills, problem solving skills, visualization skills as well as computing skills. You will see the power of logical thinking and deduction and why mathematics is timeless.
Lectures:
The lecture times are MWF 9, MWF 10, MWF 11, MWF 12, TuTh 1011:30, TuTh 11:301. The sections are all coordinated and teach the same material. Learning it in a smaller class helps you to absorb it better and to learn more efficiently. You will section for this course online. The actual lectures start on Wednesday, September 7. Tuesday/Thursday sections start on Thursday, September 8.Text
Virtually all multivariable calculus books have the same structure. An example is Multivariable Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, 4 book by James Stewart fourth edition. The edition is not important and even an other book works. Stewart Multivariable Calculus Edition 4E has the ISBN number ISBN13:9780495560548. The version which includes single variable is ISBN10: 0495557420. Also newer or older editions work. The Cabot library has a copy on reserve.Exams
There are two midterm exams and one final exam. First hourly: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 7 PM in Hall B, pending room approval
 Second hourly: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7 PM in Hall B, pending room approval
 The final exam takes place in December 2017 and is organized by the exams office. The final exam date will be announced by the registrar.
Grades
First and second hourly 30 % total Homework 25 % Mathematica project 5 % Final 40 %  Final grade 100 % 
Graduate Credit
This course can be taken for graduate credit for almost all graduate schools. We regularly have graduate students taking our multivariable calculus course. If in doubt, check with your school before the semester starts whether you get credit. To fulfill the graduate credit requirements, a minimal 2/3 score must be reached for the final project.Academic integrity
The usual rules outlined in the student handbook apply. As outlined in the Grades section, submitted work consists of: 1. Homework Discussing homework with section leaders, CAs and fellow students is encouraged but submitted work must be written down by each student. When using computer algebra system or online tools for homework the use needs to be acknowledged in the paper. If you receive homework help from anyone other than the course TFs and CAs, please acknowledge that help also at the top of your assignment; your homework score will not be affected by this. We encourage that you work on homework first yourself and without computers to see, where difficulties are and to be prepared for exams. You can use office hours, MQC or problem sessions to overcome obstacles and to deepen the understanding.
 2. Two midterm exams and a final. Exams are all closed book and done without electronic aids or discussion.
 3. The Mathematica project is of creative nature and does not require any programming knowledge. Templates will be provided so that this can be done in modest time. You are encouraged to consult with faculty, course assistants and fellow students to overcome technical issues or suggestions, but you will submit your own work. More about Mathematica in the next section.
Mathematica project
The course traditionally features a Mathematica project, which introduces you to the advanced and industrial strength, computer algebra system. It is an extremely high level programming language also: where objects can be almost anything: a picture, a book, a website, a social network or a movie. The commandA = Import["http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~math21a/syllabus.html"]; n=StringCount[A, "Harvard"]; Speak[A];for example reads in the syllabus of this course, counts the number of words "Harvard" and reads the text to you. Details and the assignment will be posted later. Mathematica for which Harvard has a site license (currently, the latest edition is Mathematica 11). At the end of the semester you submit a short project. The actual lab will be posted later in the semester. This software does not lead to any additional expenses and the total time for doing the lab is of the order of a homework problem if you do the minimal requirement.
Calendar
FAS calendar.
 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Event  30 31 1 2 0 Aug 30 Intro 8:30 Hall B, Sep 5 Labor day 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 Sep 6: first MWF class, Sept 7 TTh class 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 2 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 3 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 4 Sep 27, Hall B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 6 Oct 9: Columbus day, no classes 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 7 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 8 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 9 Nov 1, Hall B 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 11 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 12 Nov 22 Nov 26 Thanksgiving 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 13 Dec 1, last day of class 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 Dec 2Dec 8 Reading period 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 15 Dec 9Dec 19 Exam period 
Day to day lecture

Hour Topic 1. Vector geometry Labor day 1  coordinates and distance 9.1 2  vectors and dot product 9.23 2. Functions 1  cross product, lines planes 9.49.5  distances 2  level surfaces and quadrics 9.6 3  curves, velocity, acceleration 10.12 3. Curves 1  arc length and curvature 10.34 2  other coordinates 9.7 3  parametric surfaces 10.5 4. Surfaces 1  review for first hourly 2  functions and continuity 11.12 3  partial derivatives 11.3 5. Partial derivatives 1  partial differential equations 11.3 2  linear approximation 11.4 3  chain rule,implicit different. 11.5 6. Gradient  Columbus day Oct 10, no classes 1  tangent spaces 11.4 11.6 2  directional derivative 11.6 7. Extrema 1  maxima, minima, saddle points 11.7 2  Lagrange multipliers 11.8 3  Global extremal problems 11.8 8. Double Integrals 1  double integrals 12.23 2  polar integration 12.4 3  surface area 12.6 9. Triple integrals 1  review for second hourly 2  triple integrals 12.7 3  spherical integration 12.8 10. Line integral theorem 1  vector fields 13.1 2  line integrals 13.2 3  line integral theorem 13.3 11. Green and Stokes theorem 1  Greens theorem 13.4 2  div, curl 13.5 3  Flux 13.6 12. Divergence theorem 1  Stokes theorem 13.7 2 Thanksgiving break (no class) Nov 23 Nov 26 3 Thanksgiving break (no class) 13. Integral theorems Overview 1  Stokes theorem II 13.8 2  Divergence Theorem 13.58 2  Overview December 1: last day of class 