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01:640:432 - Introduction to Differential Geometry

General Information

Differential geometry is the study of geometric properties of curves, surfaces, and their higher dimensional analogues using the methods of calculus. It has a long and rich history, and, in addition to its intrinsic mathematical value and important connections with various other branches of mathematics, it has many applications in various physical sciences, e.g., solid mechanics, computer tomography, or general relativity. Differential geometry is a vast subject. A comprehensive introduction would require prerequisites in several related subjects, and would take at least two or three semesters of courses. In this elementary introductory course we develop much of the language and many of the basic concepts of differential geometry in the simpler context of curves and surfaces in ordinary 3 dimensional Euclidean space. Our aim is to build both a solid mathematical understanding of the fundamental notions of differential geometry and sufficient visual and geometric intuition of the subject. We hope that this course is of interest to students from a variety of math, science and engineering backgrounds, and that after completing this course, the students will be in a position to (i) apply their knowledge and skills in this course to their related subjects, (ii) be ready to study more advanced topics such as global properties of curves and surfaces, geometry of abstract manifolds, tensor analysis, and general relativity.


The officially listed prerequisite is 01:640:311. But equally essential prerequisites from prior courses are Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra. Most notions of differential geometry are formulated with the help of Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra.
01:640:311, which itself requires Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra as prerequisites, is an important prerequisite because it helps students build mathematical maturity and gain the ability to understand, formulate and present precise mathematical concepts and proofs.


Textbook:  For current textbook please refer to our Master Textbook List page

Sample Syllabus

Syllabus, Spring 2008 . (for the DoCarmo text). Now obsolete.

This course is taught in the Spring semester.

Current Semester:

For more information on instructors and sections for Fall 2017, please see our Fall 2017 Teaching Schedule Page

For more information on instructors and sections for this course for other semesters, please see our Teaching Schedule Page

Previous semesters

  • Spring 2009. Prof. Nussbaum
  • Spring 2008. Prof. Han

Disclaimer: Posted for informational purposes only

This material is posted by the faculty of the Mathematics Department at Rutgers New Brunswick for informational purposes. While we try to maintain it, information may not be current or may not apply to individual sections. The authority for content, textbook, syllabus, and grading policy lies with the current instructor.

Information posted prior to the beginning of the semester is frequently tentative, or based on previous semesters. Textbooks should not be purchased until confirmed with the instructor. For generally reliable textbook information—with the exception of sections with an alphabetic code like H1 or T1, and topics courses (197,395,495)—see the textbook list.

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