Mathematics 309 - Spring 1997 - Topics in geometry

This spring I will take Mathematical Astronomy as a theme. The astronomy will be extremely elementary, used mainly as motivation for various mathematical excursions. Topics covered will include conic sections (ellipses, hyperbolas, parabolas), the geometry of orbits (in 2D and 3D), astrolabes, sun dials, and elementary orbital motion. Perhaps something on chaos in the Solar system, or the geometry of eclipses.

Most assignments will involve pictures. Those who want to can render them with the help of a computer, for example with PostScript or Java. Accounts on the Mathematics undergraduate network will be available.