An Introduction to Introduction to Geometry
In my year, Introduction to Geometry (MA125) was in Weeks 1 to 5 of Term 1, and it was lectured by Gavin Brown. According to the Undergraduate Handbook, this year it’ll be in the same five weeks, but lectured by Andrea Mondino instead.
It was a really popular option in my year, and I liked it because it was a completely different way of thinking to a lot of the core modules and A-level Maths. The focus is on plane Euclidean geometry, and proving things with the aid of diagrams. There’s also a section on spherical geometry, which is something that was almost completely unfamiliar to me when I started the course.
There’s a set of good lecture notes from 1999 that are still very relevant to the course – although, as stressed by Gavin in our lectures, making your own notes in lectures is the best thing you can do, because, like a lot of maths modules, it was delivered in chalk and talk. I found that the lecture notes were helpful to revise with when I was missing a piece of information or I had written something that made no sense. This was especially useful, because the exam was in the summer, but the module was finished part-way through November.
I preferred the plane geometry to the spherical geometry – it felt like the spherical geometry was the odd bit out at times.
Thinking about learning the module itself, I’d recommend keeping track of the numbers given to the axioms and the main results – when proving one result, you often refer to previous results, and sometimes a lecturer may just reference a previous result by name. This applies to all modules to some extent, but I noticed that I found it more difficult to remember all the different numbers in this one.
Exams-wise, this was one of my favourite papers to sit. I don’t really remember why now – I think there had been a question on something I’d explained to a non-maths friend a few days before, and that made me happy. That paper isn’t available online yet, but the previous years’ papers are, if you’d like to get an idea of the style.
In all, it’s a nice little module that’s a change of feel from the core modules, while being a List A module, and I’d recommend it.