Mathematics for the Natural Sciences

Fall 2017

Instr: Dr. Roger Griffiths
Office: Old Main 404
Phone:   824-2123
Text: Precalculus Essentials (4th Edition),   by Robert Blitzer;

Notes (Fall 2017):

Important information regarding the Post Exam 1
- - > Makeup points (makeup exam). < - -
Please read carefully.

Exam 1 scores are posted     (M118).

Four nights a week tutors will be available to help you with this class.
Follow this link:   for information about these help sessions.

Let's begin by keeping our eye on the BIG PICTURE

In a recent article by IIya Pozin he discussed "Simply having a college degree will not get you hired. We need to break away from this idea. In all reality, most employers could care less about your GPA or where you went to school." He goes on to make the following points:

  1. Your degree isn’t a golden ticket.
  2. It’s all about experience.
  3. Passion will help you succeed.
  4. Companies hire the person who is certain to cause the most positive impact.
  5. Go the extra mile.
You will need your degree, but you need to distinguish yourself. Read more > > >

Many managers agree that what make people successful are their motivation, drive, and ability to learn from mistakes, and how hard they work.

Several On-line Algebra Resources

Why understanding mathematics is essential:

If one does not understand or refuses to deal with mathematics, one has fatally impaired one’s ability to comprehend the natural sciences, because not only are the ideas of the natural sciences expressed in mathematical form, but also the relationships among those ideas are established with mathematical reasoning.
It's Time To Start...Ready...Go!

Still not convinced? . . . OK, your goal here is not just to get through this mathematics course, or even just to get a 'good' grade in this class. You are not in college just to get 'mostly good' grades, your goal is to further your education and hopefully to become successful after you graduate college? If you are still reading this paragraph then you should listen to someone else, someone famous on TV, tell you things that I tell you in class; watch this short (~3 min) video of Neil deGrasse Tyson (noted American astrophysicist) being interviewed on CNN.

Winplot for Windows This is a great -FREE- math plotting utility. It compact and very easy to use.
Or simply use Wolfram Alpha

Several On-line Algebra Resources

My current Schedule


Bad Habits You Must Eliminate from Your Daily Routine

You are the sum of your habits. When you allow bad habits to take over, they dramatically impede your path to success. The challenge is bad habits are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even notice the damage they’re causing.
READ MORE > > > (by Dr. Travis Bradberry)

Quit Saying 'I'm Just Not a Math Person'

It started with a fairly simple problem. The class of elementary education majors were looking at energy and efficiency. This course is specifically designed to help these students get a basic understanding of the nature of science > > > READ MORE > > > (Quit Saying 'I'm Just Not a Math Person')

you deserve free software Free software is simply software that respects our freedom — our freedom to learn and understand the software we are using. Free software is designed to free the user from restrictions put in place by proprietary software, and so using free software lets you join a global community of people who are making the political and ethical assertion of our rights to learn and to share what we learn with others.

What is all this "open-source"/"Free software"?

Software - Open Source

    (Free Software generally under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License)
  • What is Linux - An introduction to Linux from
  • LibreOffice Logo - LibreOffice is the free power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute (and much better than that expensive virus you are probably currently using).
  • GIMP - Free - GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
  • The R Project for Statistical Computing - R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.
  • XPPAUT a tool for numerically solving differential, difference, or delay equations
  • Maxima - a sophisticated computer algebra system
  • Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations (similar to Matlab).
  • Iode - free, but you will need Octave (see link below) or Matlab to use (phase plane utility).
  • SAGE: Open Source Mathematics Software - Creating a viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica, and Matlab

Linux/GNOME users:

The problems with GNOME 3 are not as bad everyone is saying. Sure GNOME 3 itself is ...hmmm, well as Linux daddy Linus Torvalds says "GNOME 3 is an unholy mess", but the Xfce graphical desktop environment is a decent replacement for GNOME 2, so problem largely solved.

Patent Absurdity

A new documentary film "Patent Absurdity" is set to expose how the judicial activism that led to the patenting of software has broken the US patent system's promise of promoting the progress of science and useful arts. This has ramifications for students, in the harm being done to software developers and the wider economy.

i am a total geek


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Department of Mathematics and Information Technology at Mercyhurst University

Software - Open Source

    (Free Software generally under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License)