Michael Olinick

Professor of Mathematics

 Mon, Wed, Fri 10-11 & 12:10-1; Tues 9:30-11 and by appointment
 Warner Hall 314

Degrees, Specializations & Interests:
A.B., University of Michigan; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin;

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Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1280 - Breaking the Code: Alan Turing      

Breaking the Code: The Enigma of Alan Turing
British mathematician Alan Turing broke the Nazis' prized Enigma cipher in World War II, created the foundations of computer science, and pioneered the fields of artificial intelligence (“Can Machines Think?”) and neural networks. Turing was arrested for homosexuality and forced to undergo hormone treatments. He died by cyanide poisoning at a relatively young age. His brilliant achievements and tragic death have been the subject of biographies, essays, plays, novels, and films, most recently the Academy Award winning The Imitation Game. We will explore the life and works of this remarkable individual in the context of the war and its aftermath. 3 hrs. sem./screening CW DED EUR

Fall 2015

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MATH 0121 - Calculus I      

Calculus I
Introductory analytic geometry and calculus. Topics include limits, continuity, differential calculus of algebraic and trigonometric functions with applications to curve sketching, optimization problems and related rates, the indefinite and definite integral, area under a curve, and the fundamental theorem of calculus. Inverse functions and the logarithmic and exponential functions are also introduced along with applications to exponential growth and decay. 4 hrs. lect./disc. DED

Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Fall 2017

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MATH 0200 - Linear Algebra      

Linear Algebra
Matrices and systems of linear equations, the Euclidean space of three dimensions and other real vector spaces, independence and dimensions, scalar products and orthogonality, linear transformations and matrix representations, eigenvalues and similarity, determinants, the inverse of a matrix and Cramer's rule. (MATH 0121 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. DED

Spring 2014

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MATH 0217 - Elements of Math Bio & Ecol      

Elements of Mathematical Biology and Ecology
Mathematical modeling has become an essential tool in biology and ecology. In this course we will investigate several fundamental biological and ecological models. We will learn how to analyze existing models and how to construct new models. We will develop ecological and evolutionary models that describe how biological systems change over time. Models for population growth, predator-prey interactions, competing species, the spread of infectious disease, and molecular evolution will be studied. Students will be introduced to differential and difference equations, multivariable calculus, and linear and non-linear dynamical systems. (MATH 0121 or by waiver) DED

Fall 2015

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MATH 0225 - Topics in Linear Alg & Diff Eq      

Topics in Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
Topics may include diagonalization of matrices, quadratic forms, inner product spaces, canonical forms, the spectral theorem, positive matrices, the Cayley-Hamilton theorem, ordinary differential equations of arbitrary order, systems of first-order differential equations, power series, and eigenvalue methods of solution, applications. (MATH 0200 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. DED

Fall 2013, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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MATH 0315 - Mathematical Models      

Mathematical Models in the Social and Life Sciences
An introduction to the role of mathematics as a modeling tool and an examination of some mathematical models of proven usefulness in problems arising in the social and life sciences. Topics will be selected from the following: axiom systems as used in model building, optimization techniques, linear and integer programming, theory of games, systems of differential equations, computer simulation, stochastic process. Specific models in political science, ecology, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and economics will be explored. (MATH 0200 or waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. DED

Fall 2016

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MATH 0318 - Operations Research      

Operations Research
Operations research is the utilization of quantitative methods as an aid to managerial decisions. In the course, several of these methods will be introduced and studied in both a mathematical context and a physical context. Topics included will be selected from the following: classification of problems and the formulation of models, linear programming, network optimization, transportation problems, assignment problems, integer programming, nonlinear programming, inventory theory, and game theory. (MATH 0200 or waiver) DED

Fall 2013, Fall 2017

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MATH 0432 - Elementary Topology      

Elementary Topology
An introduction to the concepts of topology. Theory of sets, general topological spaces, topology of the real line, continuous functions and homomorphisms, compactness, connectedness, metric spaces, selected topics from the topology of Euclidean spaces including the Jordan curve theorem. (MATH 0122 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. DED

Spring 2014, Spring 2016

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MATH 0500 - Advanced Study      

Advanced Study
Individual study for qualified students in more advanced topics in algebra, number theory, real or complex analysis, topology. Particularly suited for those who enter with advanced standing. (Approval required) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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MATH 0704 - Senior Seminar      

Senior Seminar
Each student will explore in depth a topic in pure or applied mathematics, under one-on-one supervision by a faculty advisor. The course culminates with a major written paper and presentation. This experience emphasizes independent study, library research, expository writing, and oral presentation. The goal is to demonstrate the ability to internalize and organize a substantial piece of mathematics. Class meetings include attendance at a series of lectures designed to introduce and integrate ideas of mathematics not covered in the previous three years. Registration is by permission: Each student must have identified a topic, an advisor, and at least one principal reference source. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

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MATH 0715 - Advanced Math Modeling Seminar      

Advanced Mathematical Modeling Seminar
A tutorial on advanced mathematical model building and analysis for students who have completed work in Differential Equations and Probability. We will study deterministic and stochastic models of interacting populations with a focus on mathematical ecology and epidemiology. Working independently and in small groups, students will gain experience reading advanced sources and communicating their insights in expository writing and oral presentations. Fulfills the capstone senior work requirement for the mathematics major. (Approval Only) 3 hrs. Sem. DED

Spring 2018

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MATH 1009 - Discovering Infinity      

Discovering Infinity
"Infinity" has intrigued poets, artists, philosophers, musicians, religious thinkers, physicists, astronomers, and mathematicians throughout the ages. Beginning with puzzles and paradoxes that show the need for careful definition and rigorous thinking, we will examine the idea of infinity within mathematics, discovering and presenting our own theorems and proofs about the infinite. Our central focus will be the evolution of the mathematician’s approach to infinity, for it is here that the concept has its deepest roots and where our greatest understanding lies. In the final portion of the course, we will consider representation of the infinite in literature and the arts. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1229). 3 hrs. lect. DED PHL WTR

Winter 2014

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Department of Mathematics

Warner Hall
303 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753