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Elements of Abstract and Linear Algebra by E. H. Connell

Elements of Abstract and Linear Algebra by E. H. Connell

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Published by: Bryce Gurney on Sep 20, 2010
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Elements of Abstract and Linear Algebra
E. H. Connell
iiE.H. ConnellDepartment of MathematicsUniversity of MiamiP.O. Box 249085Coral Gables, Florida 33124 USAec@math.miami.eduMathematical Subject Classifications (1991): 12-01, 13-01, 15-01, 16-01, 20-01c
1999 E.H. ConnellMarch 20, 2004
In 1965 I first taught an undergraduate course in abstract algebra. It was fun toteach because the material was interesting and the class was outstanding. Five of those students later earned a Ph.D. in mathematics. Since then I have taught thecourse about a dozen times from various texts. Over the years I developed a set of lecture notes and in 1985 I had them typed so they could be used as a text. Theynow appear (in modified form) as the first five chapters of this book. Here were someof my motives at the time.1) To have something as short and inexpensive as possible. In my experience,students like short books.2) To avoid all innovation. To organize the material in the most simple-mindedstraightforward manner.3) To order the material linearly. To the extent possible, each section should usethe previous sections and be used in the following sections.4) To omit as many topics as possible. This is a foundational course, not a topicscourse. If a topic is not used later, it should not be included. There are threegood reasons for this. First, linear algebra has top priority. It is better to goforward and do more linear algebra than to stop and do more group and ringtheory. Second, it is more important that students learn to organize and writeproofs themselves than to cover more subject matter. Algebra is a perfect placeto get started because there are many “easy” theorems to prove. There aremany routine theorems stated here without proofs, and they may be consideredas exercises for the students. Third, the material should be so fundamentalthat it be appropriate for students in the physical sciences and in computerscience. Zillions of students take calculus and cookbook linear algebra, but fewtake abstract algebra courses. Something is wrong here, and one thing wrongis that the courses try to do too much group and ring theory and not enoughmatrix theory and linear algebra.5) To offer an alternative for computer science majors to the standard discretemathematics courses. Most of the material in the first four chapters of this textis covered in various discrete mathematics courses. Computer science majorsmight benefit by seeing this material organized from a purely mathematicalviewpoint.

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