Math 151-152
Mathematics for the Life Sciences Sequence

  This course sequence provides an introduction to a variety of mathematical topics of use in analyzing problems arising in the biological sciences. It is designed for students in biology, agriculture, forestry, wildlife, pre-medicine and other pre-health professions. Students who desire a strong mathematical grounding, enabling them to take most advanced math courses, should consider taking the sequence Math 141-2 instead. Math 151-152 is a two course sequence, and depending upon your curriculum, will partially satisfy graduation requirements for your major. The general aim of the sequence is to show how mathematical and analytical tools may be used to explore and explain a wide variety of biological phenomena that are not easily understood with verbal reasoning alone. Prerequisites are two years of high school algebra, a year of geometry, and half a year of trigonometry. Generally it is expected that students pass Math 151 prior to taking Math 152.
   General Goals are to:

  • Develop your capability to be a quantitative scientist.
  • Develop your ability to quantitatively analyze problems arising in the biological areas of interest to you.
  • Illustrate the great utility of mathematical models to provide answers to key biological problems.
  • Develop your appreciation of the diversity of mathematical approaches potentially useful in the life sciences.
  • Provide experience using computer software to analyze data, investigate mathematical models and write your own computer programs.
      The mathematical topic coverage of this sequence includes: (1) descriptive statistics: types of data, visual display of data, linear regression, exponentials and logariths and associated regressions; (2) discrete-time modeling: sequences, difference equations, vector and matrix algebra, eigenvalues and eigenvectors; Leslie matrixes; (3) probability: events and compound events, conditional probability, Baye's Theorem, population genetics models; (4) basic differential calculus: limits, continuity, rates of change, derivatives, maxima and minima; (5) basic integral calculus: antiderivatives, definite integrals, areas and volumes, probability distributions; and (6) differential equations: linear differential equations, equilibria, implicit differentiation and related rates. Topics listed under (1)-(3) are covered in Math151 and topics listed under (4)-(6) are covered in Math 152.
      This course sequence includes a computational component, with many course sections making use of the software product Matlab to illustrate concepts and carry out analyses that are not feasible to do without the use of the computer. No prior knowledge of Matlab or computer programming is expected.
      The text for the course sequence is:
    Mathematics for the Life Sciences
    by Erin Bodine, Suzanne Lenhart and Louis Gross. Supplemental material for the course is available on the Text Home Page which includes Matlab codes used in the text, a guide to R, and various notes from instructors who use this text.
    Example webpages from full semesters of this course are:
  • Math151 Sample Course Web Page (webpage)
  • Math152 Sample Course Web Page (webpage)

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