Math 189: Algebraic Geometry

Spring 2009


Algebraic geometry is both old and amazingly active. In this course the goal is to become acquainted with the basics, affine and projective varieties, while keeping an eye on modern perspectives, such as moduli, and fun applications, such as enumerative geometry and number theory. For a more detailed view of the topics to be discussed, see the syllabus link above.


Dagan Karp
1267 Olin
Office hours: Mon 4:00-5:00 p.m., and by appointment


We'll use Undergraduate Algebraic Geometry by Miles Reid.
Other good resources include Fulton's Algebraic Curves, An Invitation to Algebraic Geometry by Karen Smith, and the graduate text Algebraic Geometry by Joe Harris.


The goal is to study algebraic geometry together. I view the grades as quite secondary (perhaps a necessary evil). But they are required; they will be determined as follows:
Homework 75%
Participation 10%
Final project 15%


Written homework will be due Fridays, and is posted on the link above. Please consult the HMC mathematics homework format guidelines for helpful tips on homework submission and formatting.

Critical Readings

In addition to the written homework, suggested readings will be posted on the homework page in conjunction with upcoming lectures. Before each lecture, read the corresponding material, and bring to class one or two written questions and/or comments.

The goals of the critical reading exercises are manifold: to better the student's independent intake of mathematical exposition, to train in independent learning, to increase the interactive nature of the course (by allowing the instructor to respond to the questions and comments), and to make the course more tailored to the specific curiosities of the class as a whole.


There is a Sakai site in conjunction with this class (as with all other Mudd classes). It will be used primarily to share resources, such as notes, and is available only to members of the class. Sakai is robust, and has the capability to host chat sessions and much more. Feel free to explore.

Problem Sessions

In addition to office hours, there will be weekly problem solving sessions. The idea here is to hang out in an informal setting and discuss problems, present solutions, and expand on the material. Attendance is encouraged but certainly not required.

The problem solving sessions will be Thursdays, 4:00--5:00 p.m., and will be held in the newly renovated third floor of Sprague Library.


Students interested in using LaTeX for homework typesetting may find Eric Malm's Problem Set Class useful.


Students who need disability-related accommodations are encouraged to discuss this with the instructor as soon as possible.