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MA 103

Introduction to Abstract Mathematics


Week 1 – Introduction

Section A (Michaelmas Term): Prof Bernhard von Stengel
Section B (Lent term): Prof Graham Brightwell

Class teachers
Sally Barton
Nicholas Cron
Sam Fendrich
Nora Frankl
Emilio Pierro
Tony Whelan

Teaching Material

Study Pack
Formed of Lecture Notes and Exercises.
• You can also find them on the MA 103 Moodle page.
• We will not follow the lecture notes exactly.
• The ‘activities’ and ‘exercises’ throughout the lecture notes are not
the exercises you will be expected to hand in. They are additional
material to help you with your self-study.

Teaching Material0

Text Books
For this term, extra sources are (available in the library, or purchase one
of them if you like the book):
• Norman L. Biggs, Discrete Mathematics. (Clarendon Press, Oxford,
2002) Second edition.
• P.J. Eccles, P.J., An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning –
Numbers, Sets and Functions. (Cambridge University Press, 1997).

We will not cover everything in the books.

Teaching Material

• These can be found towards the end of the Study Pack.
• They start with the information about the parts of the Lecture Notes
and the Text Books that are relevant for that week.

• You are expected to hand in answers to each week’s Exercise Set.

Some are online quizzes on Moodle.
• The deadline for submission is
Monday of the week after the lectures at 5.00pm.
• Submit your homework by putting it in the homework box of your
class teacher in the entrance lobby of Columbia House.

• Solutions to each Exercise Set will be posted on Moodle after all

classes have finished at the end of the week.

Teaching Material1

• Hand in answers to each week’s Exercise Set, except for typically
two of them that are online quizzes, as instructed on moodle.

• The handed in homework will be marked by your class teacher, and

handed back, with the mark and further feedback, in the class later in
the week.

• Grades for classwork do NOT count towards your final mark for
the course!
So you are wasting your time (and your class teacher’s time) by
copying the answers from somebody else.

The Moodle page for the Course
We use Moodle for this course: go to
Everything you need for the course will be published there, including:
• Lecture Notes,
• Exercise Sets, including Moodle quizzes for you to solve online,
• solutions to the Exercise Sets (after classes),
• videos of Lectures and Extra Examples Sessions,
• lecture slides,
• organisational information,
• forums to ask questions (and post answers),
• some past exams and solutions.

Organisation of the Course1
Lectures: Monday 12 – 1 pm, Peacock Theatre (PT)
Thursday 10 – 11 am, Peacock Theatre (PT)
weeks 1 – 10 of term
They should be recorded on video and audio
(which is, however, not always reliable).

Extra Example Sessions:

Monday 1 – 2 pm, Peacock Theatre (PT)
weeks 2 – 11 of term
They should be recorded as well.

Classes weeks 2 – 11 of term

You are/will be assigned to a class
(once your course choices are approved).
Check your personal timetable on LSEforYou.

Organisation of the Course
• Provides overview, main concepts, examples, ideas, insight,
enthusiasm, (bad) jokes, etc., but may not cover everything in the
• Lectures are officially not compulsory.

• These are essential and compulsory.
• You are in small groups, so here you can ask questions and get

Extra Examples Sessions

• In these, we do some extra stuff, some more worked examples and
some more background material. None of the additional material is
examinable. May contain hints on how to approach certain exercises.
• These are optional.
If you need more help
• Ask a question in the lectures (in particular to correct a mistake!)
• Ask questions in your classes.
• Go through the relevant parts of the Lecture Notes or Text Books.
• Pose a question on the Moodle forums.
• Study with a group of friends.
• Go to a class teacher’s Office Hour.
• For this course, you can go to any MA 103 class teacher, not just
your own.
• Time and place of Office Hours are on the Mathematics
Department website.
• Use those Office Hours! It’s the best place to get one-to-one

• Go to the Maths & Stats Support Centre, Mon-Tue-Thu in COL.2.01

Wed-Fri in LSE LIFE.
How to do well in this course
• Think! (= try to understand)
• If you don’t understand something, identify what you don’t understand
• Think some more (and longer)!

• Engage active with the material, and don’t wait until somebody else
says what to do.
• Ask help if things are not clear or you are getting behind.

• Seriously attempt the exercises every week.

• And hand them in so that you get feedback.