Math 444 - 201, 2017WT2, Jan-Apr 2018

Mathematical Research and Writing


Announcements will be posted from time to time. Please check regularly.

  1. All submissions will be typeset in *12 pt font* - and from Week 4 onwards in LaTeX.
  2. Links to Overleaf,  Detexify and a free online LaTeX manual. The links to Overleaf, Detexify and the online LaTeX manual are at the bottom of the page under handouts too.
  3. Don't forget UBC will be closed February 12th, so no office hours that day. Please email me instead.
  4. No homework or journal due February 15th/16th due to Group Meetings.
  5. Don't forget UBC will be closed April 2nd, so no office hours that day. Please email me instead.
  6. The course will be complete April 5th, so no office hours at 4pm.

Course details

Lecture details

Lecturer: S. van Willigenburg, office: Math 208, tel: 822-2630, email: steph at math splotch ubc splotch ca
Location: TuTh 9.30-11.00 MATH 102
Web page:
Office hours: Mon 10-11am, Thur 4-5pm, 15 mins just after class, and by appointment (not Wednesday). You can also email me anytime.

Course description

This is for students who would like an introduction to mathematical research, and are interested in exploring mathematics constructively. It is suitable for students who would like to further develop their critical thinking skills independently. In addition presentation skills and ability to professionally typeset mathematics will be developed.


Your grade will be based on
Due to the intense workload of the course no extensions will be given, and late submissions will be subject to a 50% per day penalty.

Working together and academic integrity

Homework: We have no objection to collaboration on the homework, provided that it is done in a way that maximizes the benefit of the homework to all people involved. It is our experience that you get Regardless of whether you arrive at solutions in collaboration with others or alone, the paper that you turn in with your name on it should represent your own solutions, written in your own words.

In particular, you may not simply copy someone else's homework and turn it in as your own. Similarly, copying solutions that you might find on the web or from some other source is illegal.

These will all be treated as a violation of UBC's Academic Integrity Code. We take academic integrity very seriously and will follow university procedures in all cases of suspected cheating - disciplinary measures can result in expulsion.

Class etiquette

Use of cell phones (in any manner), laptops, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices during class is highly inappropriate, as it is distracting and disrespectful to fellow students and the instructor. Chatting with neighbours, even when whispered, is equally inappropriate. If you have a question then please ask the instructor so the whole class may benefit too.

Arriving late and leaving early is also discouraged. If it happens then please enter/leave the room silently and do not disrupt the other students or instructor. Thank you.

Online resources

Homework (due Thursday at start of class)

There will be weekly homework assignments due on Thursdays in class, which will augment the techniques learned in class or give an opportunity to explore mathematical research further.

Homework solutions should be typed up using good English, complete sentences, and full details. Questions should be answered in order, and pages should be fastened with a staple with your name and student number on at least the front page.

Homework 1, due Thursday January 11th.
Homework 2, due Thursday January 18th.
Homework 3, due Thursday January 25th.
Homework 4, due Thursday February 1st.
Homework 5, due Thursday February 8th.
No homework due Thursday February 15th due to group meetings.
Homework 6, due Thursday March 1st - Here is a copy of Polygon Dissections and Standard Young Tableaux.
Homework 7, due Thursday March 8th.
Homework 8, due Thursday March 15th - Here are the Beamer resources consisting of a tex file and its pdf output.
Homework 9, due Thursday March 22nd - Here is a link to an online drawing tool in case it might be useful, drawisland. Don't forget from class that in your Latex file you then will also need to put \usepackage{graphicx} at the start of your file in the preamble in order to use the \includegraphics{} command.
Homework 10, due Thursday March 29th.

Solutions will be handed out when the homework is returned, if appropriate.

Research Journal (due Friday 11.59am electronically)

You will email a weekly 1-2 page written account of your research to

Label the file preferredname_surnameinitial_Journalx.pdf.

This document will have 3 sections with the following headings.
  1. What you did.
  2. Why you did it.
  3. What obstacles you encountered, and your research plan for the following week.

Project Presentations

You will update the class on your progress throughout the term. More details are here.
  1. Week starting February 26 Project introduction (10 marks): You will motivate your project and explain what you will be investigating. Plus teach the class definitions illustrated by examples, which are necessary for your research.
  2. Week starting March 12 Project presentation (20 marks): You will give a lecture covering the points below.


Information sheet and list of potential projects.

Other handouts

Here are some more study materials I found to help, or might be interesting. 

Resources on learning
Resources on writing
Resources on Latex

Other useful links