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1.4: Structure of the Textbook

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    As you read this book, you will be required to digest the material in a meaningful way. It is your responsibility to read and understand new definitions and their related concepts. In addition, you will be asked to complete problems aimed at solidifying your understanding of the material. Most importantly, you will be asked to make conjectures, produce counterexamples, and prove theorems. All of these tasks will almost always be challenging.

    The items labeled as Definition and Example are meant to be read and digested. However, the items labeled as Problem, Theorem, and Corollary require action on your part. Items labeled as Problem are sort of a mixed bag. Some Problems are computational in nature and aimed at improving your understanding of a particular concept while others ask you to provide a counterexample for a statement if it is false or to provide a proof if the statement is true. Items with the Theorem and Corollary designation are mathematical facts and the intention is for you to produce a valid proof of the given statement. The main difference between a theorem and a corollary is that corollaries are typically statements that follow quickly from a previous theorem. In general, you should expect corollaries to have very short proofs. However, that does not mean that you cannot produce a more lengthy yet valid proof of a corollary.

    Oftentimes, the problems and theorems are guiding you towards a substantial, more general result. Other times, they are designed to get you to apply ideas in a new way. One thing to always keep in mind is that every task in this book can be done by you, the student. But it may not be on your first try, or even your second.

    Discussion of new topics is typically kept at a minimum and there are very few examples in this book. This is intentional. One of the objectives of the items labeled as Problem is for you to produce the examples needed to internalize unfamiliar concepts. The overarching goal of this book is to help you develop a deep and meaningful understanding of the processes of producing mathematics by putting you in direct contact with mathematical phenomena.

    This page titled 1.4: Structure of the Textbook is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dana Ernst via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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