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Advanced Mathematics Preparation For Graduate School Of Undergraduate Science And Engineering Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Potpourri of Engineering Mathematics

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.152.1 - 9.152.12



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Paper Authors

author page

Kenneth Siegenthaler

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3565

Advanced Mathematics Preparation for Graduate School of Undergraduate Science and Engineering Students

Kenneth E. Siegenthaler

Department of Astronautics United States Air Force Academy


The difficulty of inspiring spring-semester senior science and engineering students to take another elective advanced mathematics course is well known. Mathematical Physics taught from a text such as Mathematical Methods for Physicists by George B. Arfken and Hans J. Weber has a particularly bad reputation among undergraduates. But any graduate science or engineering student, who realizes the value of advanced mathematics courses, eventually will include this great mathematics book on their shelf as one of their most used reference books. The trick is to make the course interesting and “enjoyable” enough that students look forward to class, without sacrificing the proper challenges for the student to achieve a proper level of mathematical expertise as preparation for graduate school courses. This paper discusses how to use a combination of: 1.) Textbooks, 2.) Special projects, 3.) Personal interest in the students, and 4.) Relating the material in the course to real world situations, to reach that goal. These techniques have resulted in positive student critiques, including one evaluation which the author has framed and is on his wall to be reread when he has a bad day.

I. Introduction

Mathematics is the basis for all science and engineering. A common motto has always been, “If you have room for another course in graduate school, you can never go wrong by taking another math course.” The pillars of science in the early 1900’s, Einstein, Heisenburg, Planck, Schrodinger, etc., were all superb applied mathematicians. Einstein was obviously a very good pure mathematician as well. The more mathematics a

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society of Engineering Education”

Siegenthaler, K. (2004, June), Advanced Mathematics Preparation For Graduate School Of Undergraduate Science And Engineering Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13029

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