maths study via The Open University

Archive for December, 2012

M337 TMA1 back

A fully marked assignment number one was waiting for me on my return from Christmas visits tonight.
Must have been there since Christmas Eve, which means my tutor was prompt in the extreme in marking it since it only went off about a week ago.

Anyway, nice to see some remarks about rigour being spot on and everything being mathematically correct.

Mathematically correct, but not completely as per how the course wanted it.

For example, now I re-read the TMA, it wants an answer given as a standard parametrization. I got so into this question, which had many prior parts before the parametrization presented itself, and applied so many trig identities to get it into a nice format that, erm, well, as accurate as it was, it wasn’t in standard form. A mark gone.

Another mark went because I omitted to send in a page of my assignment. Not the best move that.

And another mark went because I failed to mention I was using a particular Theorem – I just invoked it like a wave of a magic wand.

Anyway, near enough full marks, so off to a good start.

I’ve done half of TMA2 over Christmas – while the rest of the family was sat there in fits of laughter at the Royle Family, I was booting various bits of the second block around. So, a little ahead at the mo, with the intention to get the second assignment finished by the end of the first week in January, to give me some breathing space to read up on all the physics I ought to know in preparation for SM358 – Quantum Mechanics.

Merry Christmas all.

Complex analysis books

I own two:

One by Priestley entitled “Introduction to Complex Analysis” and one by Needham entitled “Visual Complex Analysis”.

Priestley came highly recommended but seems a dense read to me.

Needham is less well-known in the main, I think, but it’s the one I’m living in.
A few reviews say it requires pre-existing knowledge of the subject in order to make proper use of it. A few say it broaches the undergrad/post-grad boundary (will refrain from topological jokes here).

All I know is:

a) it’s beautifully written – by someone with a good grasp of “English, proper”,
b) it’s full of good quality drawings which illuminate the subject,
c) it helped me to make sense of such things as visualising integrals (as far as is possible) on the complex plane,
d) I’m reading it in tandem with the OU course – OU course for absolute rigour and proofs, Needham for an even more “layman’s terms” explanation of the latest new concept (outdoing even the OU books in this regard, in my opinion), followed by geometrical visualisation courtesy of the well-explained drawings.

Oddly, I’d say someone with a good A level in maths and an appreciation that i, the imaginary unit, exists could make a good go at getting into this book. Such an easy read.

I have two functional analysis texts on the way too – both kick off with defining various metrics but rapidly move on. More on those later – I expect to get very stuck quite quickly.

Useful Youtube channel

Lots of complex analysis videos on Bret Benesh’sYoutube channel.
Here’s just one of them.


It would appear from the perspective of enquiring about income support that being a part-time student is treated like being a full-time student = no cash.

Yet, from the perspective of enquiring about council tax credit that being a part-time student is treated like not being a student at all = have to pay full.


They’ve got it covered both ways.

Ah well, bread and spaghetti hoops it is. 🙂

Interesting find – PG complex analysis

This looks good.

Click to access pg1.pdf



M337 TMA1 sent, and block B read

I finally got round to sending off the Block A TMA – TMA1 – after rewriting about half of it into a tighter format which hopefully still contains all of the information.
This was a useful exercise both for sharpening arguments and also as consolidation of Block A.

On top of that, I’ve completed a first pass reading of Block B, having done very few of the problems and exercises, while also trying to see “what’s under the hood” of certain key results – ie can they be shown/proved in a different way? Varying success here, but at least it has got me thinking.

Work-wise, I leave in four days and have decided not to take the new job offered to me. Instead, I have taken some part-time temping work in the same field up to the end of January 2013, at which point I’ll stop work completely for 18 months, reduce spending to little above basic necessities, and aim to get this degree finished bar the release of the results by July 2014.

To that end, SM358 will be M337’s study buddy this academic year, with various mathematical treatises of quantum mechanics already forming my night time reading.

I’ve written out a study plan which, weekly, incorporates 20 hours of M337, 20 hours of SM358 and about eight hours looking at the MSc course based on the Calculus of Variations; the notes of which I already have. Note that it’s just a case of trying to develop my maths further by trying to follow along with the MSc intro course, rather than enrolling upon it for extra credit.

I figure it might develop mathematical maturity.

Absolutely loving M337, and finding I’m reading various topology texts in tandem at the moment, to deepen my understanding of necessary and key points. I can see why the OU’s topology course is rated as difficult by many students, if the alternative texts I have are anything to go by – definition city being one major problem for me.

M343 result

In the 90s on assignments. In the 50s for the exam.
So, a grade 4 pass, as expected.
Not a lot I could do about it really – circumstances beyond my control in the months leading up the exam.
Still, a pass is a pass.
So, no celebrations, but a crafty beer nonetheless.