I get to teach Math 429 this semester.
This is the introductory topology course for undergraduates at Penn State – “point set topology” as the old-fashioned name would be. I used to teach some of this material at Oxford but I have not had a chance to teach it at PSU before now. I have about 25 students.
I decided to try a variation of a Moore method approach in this class.
So I started by showing the students the two-minute video above, which shows Steph Davis free-soloing and then BASE jumping from a Utah desert tower. Then I asked them, “Now you have watched the video, could you do that?”
The website for my MASS course, “Winding Around” (Math 497C, Fall 2013) is now live.
“Winding Around” is an introduction to topology using the winding number as a unifying theme. It’s intended to be different from most introductory topology courses because we’ll try to define the key concept (winding number) as economically as possible and then apply it in many different ways.
One of the inspirations for this course is the classic expository paper
Atiyah, M. F. “Algebraic Topology and Elliptic Operators.” Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 20, no. 2 (1967): 237–249. doi:10.1002/cpa.3160200202.
and if things go according to plan I hope that we may get to discuss the Bott periodicity theorem at the end of the course, in the spirit of Atiyah’s article.