## Syllabus for Math 90

### John Conway's Work in Popular Mathematics

MWF, 1:10-2:00, XS 303
Professor Don Davis
- XS 332, 83756, dmd1
- Office hours: TThF 2:30-3:30

John Conway
is a Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. He has done
much important work in esoteric pure mathematics such as group theory.
But he has also had many innovative ideas in popular or recreational
mathematics, such as his Game of
Life, his
Theory of Games, and his "Look-and-say"
sequence. This seminar will focus on his ideas in popular
mathematics. Other of his ideas that should be discussed are surreal numbers
and Fractran. The
only prerequisites
are high school mathematics and a curiosity about mathematical ideas.
The closest thing to a text is * Winning Ways for your Mathematical
Plays* by Berlekamp, Conway, and Guy. As it is split into four
volumes, and we will not use it a lot,
students are not required to purchase it. It will be available on
reserve in the Fairchild Library, and the e-version
is accessible.

Your grade will be based 20% on a midterm exam, 35% on a final exam,
and 45% on a combination of class attendance/participation, homework,
and possible projects or presentations.