Major and Minor
At Knox, mathematics is marked by a commitment to analytic rigor, an emphasis on clear understanding, the ability to communicate effectively with others, and an excitement about the unlimited possibilities within this field of knowledge.
Today, the pleasure and the excitement of studying mathematics are intensified by the capacities of modern computers, which have helped bring new developments within the reach of the serious undergraduate. Knox has been at the forefront in capturing the power of computers, both for class assignments and in research.
A distinctive feature of the mathematics major at Knox is the importance given to effective communication. In all courses students are expected to write clearly. In the course "Mathematical Structures" and in Senior Seminar, classes literally write their own textbooks. Students also are regularly asked to give professional-quality presentations.
Mathematics students begin with a solid foundation in calculus, linear algebra and mathematical structures before proceeding to a variety of advanced courses and independent work. Some majors undertake a College Honors project, which involves a year of research on a mathematical topic, a paper and an oral defense. Recent Honors projects have dealt with topics such as fundamental solutions for partial differential equations and options pricing.
As a "capstone" experience, mathematics majors are required to participate in the independent study of a topic of current interest and produce a talk on the topic.
A unique resource in the Mathematics Department is the Mathematica Lab, which contains a powerful server that gives optimal performance for large numbers of simultaneous users of the "Mathematica" package. The Stellyes Lab provides Macintosh and IBM computers in the Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center. Additional facilities include several science-related computer labs, a data analysis lab in George Davis Hall, and a 24/7 general computer lab in Seymour Union.
The mathematics department is housed in the Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center. Its Kresge Science and Mathematics Library holds relevant reference works and journals. Knox has superb computing facilities for student use. Knox's high speed fiber optic and wireless networks give students access anywhere on campus, including their own rooms, free DS-3 access to the Internet and to advanced software, including Mathematica.