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MASS Selecta: Teaching and Learning Advanced Undergraduate Mathematics
Edited by: Svetlana Katok, Alexei Sossinsky, and Serge Tabachnikov, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

2003; 313 pp; hardcover
ISBN-10: 0-8218-3363-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-3363-6
List Price: US$69
Member Price: US$55.20
Order Code: MASS
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This book results from a unique and innovative program at Pennsylvania State University. Under the program, the "best of the best" students nationwide are chosen to study challenging mathematical areas under the guidance of experienced mathematicians. This program, Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters (MASS), offers an unparalleled opportunity for talented undergraduate students who are serious in the pursuit of mathematical knowledge.

This volume represents various aspects of the MASS program over its six-year existence, including core courses, summer courses, students' research, and colloquium talks. The book is most appropriate for college professors of mathematics who work with bright and eager undergraduate and beginning graduate students, for such students who want to expand their mathematical horizons, and for everyone who loves mathematics and wants to learn more interesting and unusual material.

The first half of the book contains lecture notes of nonstandard courses. A text for a semester-long course on \(p\)-adic analysis is centered around contrasts and similarities with its real counterpart. A shorter text focuses on a classical area of interplay between geometry, algebra and number theory (continued fractions, hyperbolic geometry and quadratic forms). Also provided are detailed descriptions of two innovative courses, one on geometry and the other on classical mechanics. These notes constitute what one may call the skeleton of a course, leaving the instructor ample room for innovation and improvisation.

The second half of the book contains a large collection of essays on a broad spectrum of exciting topics from Hilbert's Fourth Problem to geometric inequalities and minimal surfaces, from mathematical billiards to fractals and tilings, from unprovable theorems to the classification of finite simple groups and lexicographic codes.


Professors of mathematics; general mathematical audience.

Table of Contents

  • S. Katok and S. Tabachnikov -- A brief description of MASS program
  • G. E. Andrews -- Teaching in the MASS program
Lecture notes
  • S. Katok -- \(p\)-adic analysis in comparison with real
  • M. Levi -- Geometrical methods of mechanics
  • A. Katok -- Geometric structures, symmetry and elements of Lie groups
  • S. Katok -- Continued fractions, hyperbolic geometry and quadratic forms
MASS colloquium
  • S. Tabachnikov -- MASS colloquium
  • J. C. Álvarez Paiva -- Hilbert's fourth problem in two dimensions
  • J. Conway -- Integral lexicographic codes
  • E. Formanek -- The classification of finite simple groups
  • G. Galperin -- Billiard balls count \(\pi\)
  • V. Niţică -- Rep-tiles revisited
  • Y. Pesin -- Fractals and dynamics
  • S. G. Simpson -- Unprovable theorems and fast-growing functions
  • A. B. Sossinsky -- Minimal surfaces and random walks
  • S. Tabachnikov -- The tale of a geometric inequality
Student research papers
  • M. Guysinsky -- Summer REU program at Penn State
  • S. Chuba -- Partitions of \(n\) and connected triangles
  • J. Kantor and M. Maydanskiy -- Triangles gone wild
  • A. Medvedev -- Determinacy of games
  • J. Voight -- On the nonexistence of odd perfect numbers
  • S. Katok, A. Sossinsky, and S. Tabachnikov -- MASS courses and instructors
  • S. Katok, A. Sossinsky, and S. Tabachnikov -- MASS colloquia
  • S. Katok, A. Sossinsky, and S. Tabachnikov -- MASS participants
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