This free and open-source textbook was written by me (Dana C. Ernst) and is designed to be used with an inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach to a first-semester undergraduate abstract algebra course. The textbook starts with groups (up to the First Isomorphism Theorem) and finishes with an introduction to rings (up to quotients by maximal and prime ideals). While the textbook covers many of the standard topics, the focus is on building intuition and emphasizes visualization. The source files are located on GitHub.
I will not be covering every detail of the notes and the only way to achieve a sufficient understanding of the material is to be digesting the reading in a meaningful way. You should be seeking clarification about the content of the notes whenever necessary by asking questions. Here’s one of my favorite quotes about reading mathematics.
Don’t just read it; fight it! Ask your own questions, look for your own examples, discover your own proofs. Is the hypothesis necessary? Is the converse true? What happens in the classical special case? What about the degenerate cases? Where does the proof use the hypothesis?
The notes will be released incrementally. Each link below is to a PDF file. If you’ve found an error and have suggestions for improvements, please let me know.
An Inquiry-Based Approach to Abstract Algebra (complete set of notes)
Below are links to the take-home portions of each exam. If you are interested in using LaTeX to type up your solutions, contact me and I will send you a link to the source file of the exam.
Mathematics & Teaching
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MAT 220: Math Reasoning
MAT 411: Abstract Algebra
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The source code is on GitHub.