189-346 / 377B: Number Theory
Professor: Henri Darmon
Classes: MWF 10:35-11:25, BH 1B39.
Henri Darmon: M 2:00-3:00 and F 11:30-12:30, or by appointment,
in room 1111.
You may also avail yourself of the services of the Math
Help Desk, which is open Monday-Friday from 12:00 to 5:00 PM,
in BH 911.
Andrew Granville, Introductions to Gauss's Number Theory, together with the
This will be the primary text for many of the
topics covered in the syllabus. It can be downloaded freely from this web page.
Note that this textbook is still in progress and is not yet complete.
In fact, it is being tried
out in the classroom for the first time! Any feedback that
you can provide me in your role as guinea pigs
(typos, grammatical errors, obscurities of exposition,
etc.) will be forwarded to the author and will be most appreciated.
William J. LeVeque,
Fundamentals of Number Theory,
I have chosen this text because it gives a good overview of the standard
topics in the subject with a historical slant which I like. It is available in
a cheap Dover edition, and acquiring it will not set you back by more than
the price of three Lattes at Second Cup. Very highly recommended.
Winfried Scharlau and Hans Opolka,
From Fermat to Minkowski: Lectures on the Theory of Numbers and its historical development.
This textbook gives a historically motivated account of the subject
at a somewhat more advanced level than the other two books.
It is rather pricey and is only proposed as an optional text for
those (particularly the students in 377) wishing to go a bit beyond
the material covered in class.
Syllabus: This course will cover the standard
syllabus for an
introductory undergraduate course in number theory.
The content and pace will be challenging:
emphasis will be placed on rigorous proofs, and on developping
maturity and problem-solving skills.
Grading Scheme :
346: 20% Bi-weekly
40% final exam.
377: 20% Bi-weekly
40% final exam.
Here is an old practice midterm.
Here is the actual midterm exam.
The corrections to the midterm are now
Alternate schemes: If you do better on the final than on the midterm,
the midterm will be discarded
and the final will count for the balance the final grade (80% for students
in 346, and 60% for those in 377).
The component of the grade based on the
assignments and term project can not
be made up for by a strong performance in the final exam.
The final exam will be on April 19, at 9:00 AM.
Because of the conflict with the Passover holiday, there is the possibility of
writing a special exam on April 29. Students wishing to avail themselves of
this possibility must fill in a conflict form
(which can be found at this link) that is signed by their Rabbi,
attesting to the fact they cannot be present on the day of the
exam due to religious obligations.
The final grades need to be handed in one week after the final exam,
therefore I'd like to ask you to hand in your course
projects on Monday, April 25. (You can slide them under the dor of my office,
or place them in the 10th floor mailbox.)
Computation and experimentation are an
important facet of
Number Theory, a tradition that does back at least to Gauss who was a
Because of this, Number Theory is the branch of pure mathematics
that is perhaps the closest to physics. (This may seem surprising
in light of Number Theory's reputation as the purest part of pure
mathematics, well removed from the "real world".)
Unlike physics where experiments often rely on costly apparatus that can
only be carried out in well-endowed laboratories, the requirements
in number theory are modest: a personal computer running a symbolic algebra
is all that you will need.
A number of questions in the assignments will rely on calculations
on such a symbolic algebra system. Pari/GP, which is freely available on the web,
is the system I recommend. (But you are free
to use an equivalent system,
like Maple, Mathematica or Magma if you prefer.)
Before writing Assignment 1, you should
download Pari onto your computer.
You might want to seek help from a classmate if you have trouble in doing this.
The usual disclaimers:
Academic Integrity: McGill University values academic integrity.
Therefore all students must understand
the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences
under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see
for more information).
L'honneteté académique. L'université McGill attache une haute importance à l'honneteté
incombe par conséquent à
tous les étudiants de comprendre ce que l'on entend par
tricherie, plagiat et autres infractions académiques,
ainsi que les conséquences que
peuvent avoir de telles actions, selon le Code de conduite de
l'étudiant et des
procédures disciplinaires (pour de plus
amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le
Submitting work in either of the Official Languages. In accord with McGill University's Charter of Students' Rights,
in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded.
Syllabus and Grade Calculation.
In the event of extraordinary circumstances beyond the University's control, the content
and/or evaluation scheme in this course is subject to change.