Questions tagged [mathematical-analysis]

For questions applying to analysis courses: Real and complex analysis. Typically a higher and more proof-based level than calculus.

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Reasons for (not) distinguishing $f$ from $f(x)$

Formally, if $f$ is a function, $f(x)$ is a value. So for instance, $f$ can be continuous, but not $f(x)$. In teaching at school and university, notation is quite often mixed up, e.g. the function is ...
Anschewski's user avatar
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32 votes
5 answers
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The best way to introduce trigonometric functions in a rigorous analysis course

This is something I have always had issues with. Generally, three approaches are used: The geometric path: this follows the standard way how you would introduce these functions in school. The problem ...
András Bátkai's user avatar
30 votes
8 answers
2k views

Good motivation for the introduction of Lebesgue integral?

When students take a course on real analysis, they have likely learned about Riemann integrals. What is a good motivation why they have to learn a new way to integrate? A student don't want to hear ...
Markus Klein's user avatar
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30 votes
7 answers
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Good definition for introducing real numbers?

In the first lectures about calculus/analysis, you should introduce real numbers. Let's assume students know that rational numbers are. What are the advantages or disadvantages in the different "...
Markus Klein's user avatar
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28 votes
5 answers
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What are some good examples to motivate the implicit function theorem?

I always had problems teaching the implicit function theorem in advanced analysis courses. This result is motivated by later applications, but it would be great to provide easily accessible examples ...
András Bátkai's user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
2k views

Lesson plan to self-teach real analysis to student with comp-sci background

For my background, I'm a software engineer currently studying for his master's degree in information security. But when that's all done, I plan on going back to mathematics to keep me busy. But with ...
avgvstvs's user avatar
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25 votes
5 answers
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When did US mathematics programs start failing to prepare incoming students for books like "Baby" Rudin?

I've seen in a lot of questions about "which textbook to use for intro analysis", and inevitably Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis comes up, with the (almost cliche) rejoinder that "today's ...
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25 votes
8 answers
2k views

Counterintuitive consequences of standard definitions

Let me motivate my question with the following situation. While teaching the concept of continuity, I usually start with motivating the concept. Then, when we see that there is an important and ...
András Bátkai's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
2k views

How should one tutor a student in undergraduate real analysis?

I am an undergraduate. Other undergraduates sometimes ask me to tutor them in an introductory real analysis course that covers the equivalent of the first half-dozen chapters of Rudin's Principles of ...
Potato's user avatar
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24 votes
10 answers
7k views

Why would you teach Calculus before teaching Real Analysis?

Let's assume our students are actual aspiring mathematicians. Why would we introduce our students to Calculus rather than Real Analysis? After all, "Calculus is a subset of Real Analysis". He will ...
ClassicEndingMusic's user avatar
22 votes
16 answers
8k views

Why is it possible to teach real numbers before even rigorously defining them?

In mathematics, one can hardly study any mathematical concept unless it is clearly and rigorously defined. For example, without the definition the fundamental group, it is almost impossible to teach ...
Zuriel's user avatar
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21 votes
4 answers
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Evaluating the reception of (epsilon, delta) definitions

Both education researchers and mathematicians discuss the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in real analysis and the student reception of them. My impression has been that mathematicians ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
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20 votes
8 answers
3k views

Fourier Animation

Are there any resources which show Fourier series approximating a given waveform? I am looking for examples which have a real impact on students and provides motivation. I am trying to find something ...
matqkks's user avatar
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20 votes
5 answers
8k views

Best textbooks to introduce measure theory and Lebesgue integration?

What are the best textbooks to introduce measure theory and Lebesgue integration to undergraduate math majors? Many students in such a class will go on to graduate school and be required to take a ...
Gamma Function's user avatar
20 votes
7 answers
2k views

How can I motivate the formal definition of continuity?

In order to teach continuity of real valued functions $f:D\to\mathbb R$ one may start with the (in some sense wrong) intuition $f$ is continuous when its graph can be drawn without lifting the pen. ...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
689 views

Comparison of different concepts of integral

As the following math stack exchange question (and answers) show: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/703212/is-dxdy-really-a-multiplication-of-dx-and-dy There are a lot of different ways to ...
kjetil b halvorsen's user avatar
18 votes
10 answers
7k views

Complex numbers in high school

Are complex numbers taught in high school in other countries? I am from Germany and complex numbers are next to never touched in high school with the exception of extra-curricular activities, for ...
YukiJ's user avatar
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17 votes
4 answers
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What is the motivation for characterizing second order linear PDEs as hyperbolic, elliptic, or parabolic?

I'm teaching an Intro to PDEs course (I'm an analyst, but PDEs are a bit outside my bailiwick) and I'm covering the basic examples: Heat, Wave, and Laplace. How should I move from these examples to ...
Ben Willson's user avatar
15 votes
6 answers
2k views

What is important to keep in mind in grading proof-based courses?

I am an undergraduate grader at my institution where I have been entrusted with grading a section of an undergraduate analysis course; it's usual for this role to be offered exclusively to graduate ...
kodiak's user avatar
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15 votes
4 answers
643 views

How would you explain what a PDE is to a very educated layman with no math background?

Is every mathematical concept, even the complex ones, explainable? As someone who will be needing to explain my line of work for a position to a committee who is very, very, educated, just not in ...
Wow McWow's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
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Introducing the Lebesgue integral before Riemann's

Has anyone attempted to introduce, or has data on such endeavor, Lebesgue integration before Riemann? I've seen many discussions about how the Riemann integral is obsolete and that it is presented ...
Mark Fantini's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
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Do undergraduates struggle with δ-ε definitions because they lack a habit of careful use of their native language?

I transcribed this excerpt starting at the 22-minute mark, of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology’s May 19 2020 podcast with Professor Tadashi Tokieda: For example, this is a bit too ...
user95017's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why are hand waving arguments made in textbooks of undergraduate analysis and how should readers deal with them?

Having read several undergraduate textbooks in complex analysis (Stein-Shakarchi, Gamelin, etc.), I find that some "hand-waving" arguments are frequently used. An example (the proof of the ...
user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
335 views

Resources for teaching Riemann integration in higher dimensions and on submanifolds, with view toward Stokes' theorem?

Question I am looking for suggestions of good resources (textbooks or lecture notes preferably) for teaching Riemann integration in $\mathbb{R}^d$ with $d\geq 2$ and also for Riemann integration ...
Willie Wong's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
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How to deal with "Why can't I just do ......" in real analysis?

I'm teaching introductory real analysis at a large public university in the US. A common question from students is of the form "Why can't I just do it like this?". i.e. Often a student has come up ...
SBK's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
365 views

Spiral learning in real analysis

Has there been any attempts at developing a curriculum for teaching analysis (here let us be narrow and say real analysis in the sense of rigorous integral and differential calculus) in a multipass, ...
Willie Wong's user avatar
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13 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why should we study continuity?

This question is related to How can I motivate the formal definition of continuity? Imagine a student asks the question why it is worth it to study continuity. What is a good response to this question?...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Introductory real analysis before or after introductory abstract algebra?

What are the pros and cons for students of taking introductory real analysis before or after introductory abstract algebra, assuming they are going to take both? I recognize that the overlap between ...
J W's user avatar
  • 4,635
13 votes
3 answers
525 views

Teaching Infinitesmals and Non-Standard Analysis

This question is asked from a self-teacher standpoint(I am currently trying to learn more about non-standard analysis on my own), but I'd think it could be applicable to educators also. What are good ...
ruler501's user avatar
  • 530
12 votes
9 answers
11k views

Why do we study ordinary differential equations?

What is a good answer to the question: Why should one study ordinary differential equations? I would give the answer: ODEs are used in many models to determine how the state of this model is changing ...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
437 views

How to test knowledge on the real numbers in a written exam?

In German universities, the first-year students typically start their analysis courses with introducing the real numbers. Most commonly, the incompleteness of $\mathbb{Q}$ is discussed using the ...
Anschewski's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Advanced Calculus vs. Analysis for a first proof-based course

Question: Why was advanced calculus removed as the first proof-based course in favor of real analysis in most curriculums? I regularly see in advanced calculus books either that: its purpose is, ...
Mark Fantini's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
408 views

How would you introduce Frullani integral to students?

Some integration techniques are just "tricks", while some integrals are analytically significant in that they connect different fields of math or they embody higher level concepts. In the ...
Lee David Chung Lin's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
265 views

Introducing (Borel) measures via Riesz representation theorem

I think, the most standard way is to introduce measures in real analysis is to define them via the usual properties like $\sigma$-additivity, etc. However, if the students are familiar with ...
Markus Klein's user avatar
  • 9,408
11 votes
1 answer
535 views

Motivation for uniform continuity

What are some problems or theorems that motivate the distinction between continuity and uniform continuity? In particular, I would like: a) A useful, appealing theorem that applies to uniformly ...
benblumsmith's user avatar
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10 votes
5 answers
4k views

Should an undergraduate math program contain a course on Lebesgue integration?

Is it standard for a math undergraduate program to have a course on Lebesgue integration? Does Riemann integral suffice for undergraduates? The reason of my question is I read a paper by Bartle titled ...
yaa09d's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes
2 answers
498 views

Is there research to back up the claim that math classes help develop analytical skills?

When I teach math classes, one goal I have in mind is to help students develop the cluster of thinking skills usually called analytical skills or critical thinking skills. And I think that math ...
David Elm's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why is multivariable analysis often omitted?

Related but not duplicate: What courses require multivariable analysis? By multivariable analysis I mean the rigorous version of multivariable calculus (something equivalent to Ch.9-10 in baby Rudin ...
user avatar
9 votes
8 answers
4k views

Why do most Analysis textbooks overlook, and fail to teach delta-epsilon proofs, using the K-ε principle?

When writing $\delta$-$\varepsilon$ proofs, it's common that the ''natural'' choice of $\delta$ leads to the final inequality in the form, say, $|\ldots| < \varepsilon+\varepsilon+\varepsilon$ ...
user27289's user avatar
  • 139
9 votes
3 answers
748 views

Are the following topics usually in an introductory Complex Analysis class: Julia sets, Fatou sets, Mandelbrot set, etc?

I'm an nntaleb fan so I'm glad I learned about the Mandelbrot set, but I notice that said topics are not in Brown-Churchill or 'A First Course in Complex Analysis' while they are in Coursera's '...
BCLC's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
297 views

Flipped introductory real analysis resources?

I am going to teach a flipped real analysis class next term, using Abbott's book. Does anyone know of resources for such a class? I have found the article: "Flipping the Analysis Classroom" by ...
David Steinberg's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Interesting but very easy epsilon-delta problems?

I am teaching a real analysis class. Students in the class have inconsistent high school algebra skills. They now have a complete but tenuous understanding of $\varepsilon$-$\delta$ limits. I want to ...
benblumsmith's user avatar
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8 votes
6 answers
2k views

What is the intuition behind the limit superior?

I want to write an article which explains the limit superior. I also want to present the intuition behind this concept. Currently I would describe the limit superior as the "least upper bound of a ...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
669 views

What courses require multivariable analysis?

For which undergraduate and graduate mathematics courses is multivariable analysis* an essential prerequisite? $\text{*}$ That is, a rigorous follow up to a first real analysis course at the level of ...
user941's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes
3 answers
662 views

How to make students comfortable with the use of axiom of choice in analysis

I am teaching introductory real analysis this term and realize that my students have problem coming up with sequence in some arguments in real analysis. Let's take this example: Theorem: Given a ...
Arctic Char's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
463 views

Any metaphors/intuitions for a limit of a sequence?

I'm writing (together with a colleague) a minicourse on mathematical analysis (currently we want to cover the Weierstrass theorem on functions on compact intervals, so the aim is to present only the ...
mbork's user avatar
  • 1,299
8 votes
4 answers
311 views

Multidimensional differentials for students with poor spatial imaging

When teaching multidimensional differentials (I'm assuming the students grasped the one-dimensional case), there are many useful parallels relating to spatial imagination. For example, when ...
dtldarek's user avatar
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8 votes
5 answers
566 views

Rubric for grading an undergraduate real analysis course

I find it extremely time consuming to grade a homework in an undergraduate real analysis course without a rubric. Several instructors I worked with did not have a clear rubric in their mind at all. ...
user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
630 views

Grade on proving |$a_1 +a_2+...+a_n| \le |a_1|+|a_2|+... +|a_n|$

In an Advanced Calculus course, students were asked to prove $$|a_1 +a_2+...+a_n| \le |a_1|+|a_2|+... +|a_n|$$ for $n$ real numbers $a_1,a_2,...a_n$ I am teaching assistant for this course, and one of ...
JAEMTO's user avatar
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7 votes
6 answers
2k views

How can we motivate that Newton's method is useful?

If you teach Newton's method for finding roots of real functions on the high school (or freshmen) level, I think some students may reason like a variant of the following: Why do I need learn such a &...
Julia's user avatar
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