Instructor: Frank Thorne, Coliseum 1022D, thorne [at] math [dot] sc [dot] edu.
Classes will be 12:00-12:50, MWF, in [Room TBA]. As the Covid situation dictates,
they will also be live-streamed through Microsoft Teams.
In-person attendance is generally expected.
If you suspect Covid-19, the university requests that you go through official channels:
contact the COVID-19 Student Health Services (SHS) nurse line (803-576-8511), complete the COVID-19 Student Report Form and select the option allowing the Student Ombuds to contact your professors.
When talking with the SHS nurse, be sure to ask for documentation of the consult as you will need this to document why you missed class. You will also use the COVID-19 Student Report Form if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have been ordered to quarantine because of close contact with a person who was COVID-19 positive. In each of these situations you will be provided appropriate documentation that can be shared through the Student Report Form.
- Don't come to class if you have Covid-19 (confirmed or suspected).
- Masks are required in university buildings.
- Classes will be livestreamed over Microsoft Teams for the initial surge, and later
as needed. If you wake up with Covid symptoms let me know, stay home, and participate online.
- I will bring a HEPA air purifier to improve Covid safety in the classroom.
- Please spread out in class, to the extent possible.
- Please sit in the same seat every class, to facilitate
- (Not required) The vaccine is strongly recommended. You can get it
on campus (walk-up, M-F, 9:00-3:00) or
No attendance policy will be enforced, but consistent attendance -- in person,
except as dictated by the Covid situation -- is wise.
Course objectives and learning outcomes:
In Math 701 and 702, successful students will:
- Master algebraic topics concerning groups, rings, fields, and other algebraic structures.
- More importantly, develop their sense of algebraic thinking, so that they can more easily
absorb additional algebraic material in the future.
- Lay the foundation for research in topics including algebraic number theory, algebraic combinatorics,
representation theory, algebraic geometry, commutative algebra, algebraic topology, etc., etc., etc.
- Prepare for the Qualifying Exam in algebra.
- Mondays and Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00, in COL 1022D (eventually) or via Teams (all semester).
At the beginning of the semester office hours will be held via Teams only, or in-person on the Horseshoe by request.
- Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00, outdoors on the Horseshoe. (Via Teams in case of inclement weather.)
The course will use Dummit and Foote's Abstract Algebra, please
obtain a copy of the book and follow along.
There are a number of other excellent books on algebra as well. Perhaps the most interesting is that by
Lang. In my opinion Lang's book is not very good for the beginner, but is excellent for someone
who has seen the material before and wants to review or see a different perspective. In particular,
it is great to read when you are studying for quals.
The course will heavily use Microsoft Teams for announcements,
discussion, file sharing, and chat. Lectures will be livestreamed over Teams and recorded, and lecture notes
will be uploaded there as well.
Please either check Teams daily, or have it forward new announcements to your email. You can ask me questions directly via Teams. Although private questions are okay, please ask your question publicly if you are comfortable doing so -- maybe others will be interested in the answer as well!
- (70%) Written homework assignments will be assigned at most weekly.
- (10%) Midterm
- (10%) Final Exam
- (10%) Seminar Reports
The exams will be take-home and pledged, closed book/notes, 4 hours for both the midterm and the final,
and similar to what will appear on the qualifying exam. The midterm will be passed out on a date to be announced,
and you will have a week to do it. The final exam will be distributed on a date to be announced, and due the
last day of finals period.
For the seminar reports you are asked to attend at least four seminars,
conference talks, or colloquia and
write with a brief report of what you learned, what you found interesting, or what questions you have.
The format is up to you;
three things is one good
You may write privately, but posting publicly to the Teams chat is encouraged.
Seminars may be in-person or online.
USC-sponsored seminars include
Algebra, Geometry, and Number Theory and the
department colloquium. There are also
online seminars, for example the Number Theory Web Seminar.
You should periodically go to these if a topic catches your interest. Even if you expect the seminar to
go over your head, it's worthwhile to go anyway: in part, we learn mathematics the same way babies learn language.
Here is Ravi Vakil's advice on how to go to a talk.
If you have a disability, have particular Covid-related concerns, or otherwise need special accommodations, please be in touch with me and I will
do my best to accommodate your needs.
- A (75+): You have a strong chance of passing the qualifying exam if you prepare reasonably. This also represents a strong foundation for learning further related topics.
- B+ (60+): With additional effort, you should be able to pass the qualifying exam if you prepare. This represents a partial foundation for learning further related topics.
- B (50+): You have demonstrated some mastery of the subject material, but should
put in a lot of additional effort if you want to pass the qualifying exam or take followup courses in algebra.
- C (40-49), D (30-39), F (0-29): This represents a serious problem.
To be posted, either here or on Microsoft Teams.
Rough schedule of topics:
This is for both 701 and 702, and is very much subject to change.
The course will include a short unit on linear algebra at the very beginning of the term. This will showcase
the themes of the course in a setting that will be very familiar, and yet possibly unfamiliar at the same time. (Matrices
will be mentioned only briefly if at all, and they will certainly not be row reduced at the blackboard.)
For a more highbrow perspective, I recommend Lang's book. For a still more highbrow perspective,
or this if you dare.
If there is additional time (wishful thinking?), we will cover additional topics such as homological algebra and
group representation theory (see Ch. 17-19 of Dummit-Foote). Another option is to cover the basics of category theory,
borrowing from Aluffi's Algebra: Chapter 0. Still another option is to do more noncommutative ring theory.
If there are topics you would like to see covered, please be in touch!
Other topics may be covered as well, depending on student interest.
- Linear Algebra (2-3 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 11-12; Axler, Linear Algebra Done Right.
- Group Theory (~6 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 1-5.
- Ring Theory (~4 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 7-9. For the most part we will deal with commutative rings.
- Module Theory and Tensor Products (~3 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 10, 11.5; Atiyah-Macdonald, Introduction to Commutative Algebra.
- Field and Galois Theory (~6 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 13-14.
- (if possible) Introduction to Commutative Rings and Algebraic Geometry (~3 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 15; Atiyah-Macdonald.
- (if possible) Introduction to Algebraic Number Theory (2-3 weeks): Dummit-Foote, Ch. 15.3, 16.2-16.3;
Neukirch, Algebraic Number Theory.