This is the home page for MATH 033 – Mathematics for Sustainability. This is a new course at Penn State University Park which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2014. There are two sections scheduled on MWF at 9:05 and 11:15. I will be teaching the course together with Sara Jamshidi.
The course will provide students with the mathematical background and quantitative reasoning skills necessary to engage as informed citizens in discussions of sustainability related to resources, pollution, recycling, economic change, and similar matters of public interest. These include the four key ideas of “measuring” (representing information by numbers, problems of measurement, units, estimation skills); “changing” (quantities changing with time, rates of change, the distinction between stocks and flows, simple models, interest and discount rates); “risking” (probability, expectation, skew distributions and upside vs downside risks, uses and limitations of cost-benefit analysis, risk v. uncertainty); and “networking” (graphs, social networks, the strength of weak ties, social capital).