MATH 4350 - Differential Geometry I - University of Houston
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MATH 4350 - Differential Geometry I

***This is a course guideline.  Students should contact instructor for the updated information on current course syllabus, textbooks, and course content***

Prerequisites: MATH 2433 and six additional hours of 3000-4000 level Mathematics.

Course Description: Curves in the plane and in space, global properties of curves and surfaces in three dimensions, the first fundamental form, curvature of surfaces, Gaussian curvature and the Gaussian map, geodesics, minimal surfaces, Gauss’ Theorem Egregium, The Codazzi and Gauss Equations, Covariant Differentiation, Parallel Translation.

Textbook: Instructor's Notes. Reference book: Differential Geometry: A first course in curves and surfaces, Preliminary Version Summer 2016 by Prof. Theodore Shifrin.

Topics Covered:

This year-long course will introduce the theory of the geometry of curves and surfaces in three-dimensional space using calculus techniques, exhibiting the interplay between local and global quantities.

Chapters include:

  • Chapter 1: Some preparation knowledge (in this chapter, we review some knowledge needed from calculus and linear algebra. In particular you should pay attention on the concept of ”directional derivatives” which will constantly be used)
  • Chapter 2: The Geometry of Curves (This chapter contains the main topics of the curves: The curvature and torsion (and their geometric meanings), the Frenet frame, the Frenet formula)
  • Chapter 3: Surfaces in R3 (n this chapter, we introduce the tangent spaces, the first and second fundamental forms, and the shape operator for surfaces. The first fundamental form gives the measurement (i.e. the length of the curve and surface area). The second fundamental form and the shape operator will be used in the next chapter to define various concepts of curvatures)
  • Chapter 4: Curvature (In this chapter, we introduce the concepts of various curvatures, including the normal, principal, Gauss and mean curvatures. We also study the curves on the surfaces. For curves, we have the concepts of the normal and geodesic curvatures)
  • Chapter 5: Intrinsic geometry of surfaces (In this chapter, we use the ”moving frame” method to prove the Gauss’ remarkable theorem: the Gauss curvature is indeed an intrinsic quantity, i.e. the quantity can be observed by an inhabitant (for example, a very thin ant) of the surface, who can only perceive what happens along (or, say, tangential to) the surface. Other intrinsic properties, like the covariant derivatives, and the geodesics are also discussed.
  • Finally, the Gauss-Bonnet theorem is proved. The Gauss-Bonnet theorem is the ”crowning result” in mathematics). Chapter 1 and 2 will be covered in Exam 1. Exam 2 will cover Chapter 3 and (part of) Chapter 4. Exam 3 will cover (part of) Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. In the second semester, depending on the interests of the audience, some advanced topics can be discussed as well.


Grading & Make-up Policy/Assignment & Exam Details: Please refer to your instructor's syllabus for this information.




CSD Accommodations:

Academic Adjustments/Auxiliary Aids: The University of Houston System complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, pertaining to the provision of reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids for students who have a disability. In accordance with Section 504 and ADA guidelines, University of Houston strives to provide reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids to students who request and require them. If you believe that you have a disability requiring an academic adjustments/auxiliary aid, please visit The Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD) website at for more information.

Accommodation Forms: Students seeking academic adjustments/auxiliary aids must, in a timely manner (usually at the beginning of the semester), provide their instructor with a current Student Accommodation Form (SAF) (paper copy or online version, as appropriate) from the CSD office before an approved accommodation can be implemented.

Details of this policy, and the corresponding responsibilities of the student are outlined in The Student Academic Adjustments/Auxiliary Aids Policy (01.D.09) document under [STEP 4: Student Submission (5.4.1 & 5.4.2), Page 6]. For more information please visit the Center for Students with Disabilities Student Resources page.

Additionally, if a student is requesting a (CSD approved) testing accommodation, then the student will also complete a Request for Individualized Testing Accommodations (RITA) paper form to arrange for tests to be administered at the CSD office. CSD suggests that the student meet with their instructor during office hours and/or make an appointment to complete the RITA form to ensure confidentiality.

*Note: RITA forms must be completed at least 48 hours in advance of the original test date. Please consult your counselor ahead of time to ensure that your tests are scheduled in a timely manner. Please keep in mind that if you run over the agreed upon time limit for your exam, you will be penalized in proportion to the amount of extra time taken.



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