Preface. Birkhoff & Mac Lane’s Algebra is a brilliant book. I should probably spend some time with it again, actually. Also, I apologize for such a. In Garrett Birkhoff and Saunders Mac Lane published A Survey of Modern Algebra. The book became a classic undergraduate text. Below we examine a. Garrett BirkhoffHarvard University Saunders Mac Lane The University of Chicago A SURVEY OF ern fourth.

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Preliminary Thoughts

In fact, I think this book works better as the supplement. Of course, the book came partly from England through Garrett, who had been influenced by Philip Hall when he worked with him at Cambridge England. There are still many overqualified students and many underqualified students, and I can provide a constructive proof of that fact. The Basic Graduate Year includes some good applications to algebraic geometry and algebraic number theory, for example. But, hey, at least there are lattices!

Occasionally a textbook makes possible a real leap forward in ways of learning. He returned to Harvard inthe year after I had given a course in modern algebra on the undergraduate level for the first time.

Survey of Modern Algebra

I feel there is a need in mathematics for detailed discussion of available resources. For undergraduates, we obviously need to ensure they see examples, learn the basic theory, be able to write proofs, etc.

Linear algebra is first, because students have the best intuition there; ring theory is next, because the examples and applications are nicer there than in groups and xlgebra quotient construction is easier. One of the best things about this book is the balanced approach to rigour and abstractness in relation to intuitive appreciation and concrete application.

Beyond this, occasional sections have been revised and a few problems have been added to some of the exercises. The rejuvenation of algebra by the systematic use of the postulational method and the ideas and point of view of abstract group theory has been one of the crowning achievements of twentieth century mathematics.

The most striking algebrz of modern algebra is the deduction of the theoretical properties of such formal systems as groups, rings, fields, and vector spaces.

Would like to hear feedback on this question. Some material, especially that on linear algebra, has been rearranged in the light of experience. Being able to handle abstraction does not mean students should not learn many concrete, basic maclanne, however, nor does it mean they should learn things at the most abstract possible level and be expected to figure out the less abstract consequences on their own.


Both are excellent books I have called this book Advanced Modern Algebra in homage to thembut times have changed since their first appearance: This is not to say Mac Lane and Birkhoff do this! For the social scientist whose mathematical studies have reached through the calculus, this book can confidently be urged as the thing to study next. His problems and his organization of linear algebra were especially timely.

In preparing the revised edition we have added several important topics equations of stable type, dual spaces, the projective group, the Jordan and rational canonical forms for matrices, etc.

Or, maybe you have a truly prodigious bunch who have all seen algebra before or who are as alhebra as most incoming graduate students at good schools, in which case following the text more closely ough to work without much issue. The truth, though, is that undergraduates are fairly unlikely to read their textbook.

These ideas are still most relevant and worthy of enthusiastic presentation. Xlgebra Thoughts In both undergraduate courses and graduate courses students’ abilities and background are quite variable; that much has not changed in the past few decades. Artin 2e, not 1e is also good and emphasizes linear algebra and geometric intuition, which is good considering how often students will need things from linear algebra and how often they will find themselves ignorant of those things.

Then the abstract definition appears simple, and the theoretical properties algebrx are deduced from the definition exhibit the power of the concept. Our Survey presented an exciting mix of classical, axiomatic, and conceptual ideas about algebra at a time when this combination was new.

I do not believe students are significantly less capable today than they were several decades ago, as you seem to suggest. Similarly, books like Cohn, Grillet, and Jacobson can be too advanced or too focused on being references. Suggestions I am less sure what makes a really excellent graduate course in terms of extant texts. This exposition of the elements of modern algebra has been planned with alyebra skill, and the plan has been carried birjhoff very successfully. Birkhofc of these exercises are computational, some explore further examples of the new concepts, and others give additional theoretical developments.

He received the nation’s highest award for scientific achievement, the National Medal of Science, in The familiar domain of integers and the rational field are emphasized, together with the rings of integers modulo n and associated polynomial rings.


Birkhoff and Mac Lane also want to teach their students to prove things, of course.

Math Forum Discussions

I don’t think hitting students with category theory unless they’ve already had considerable exposure to algebra is a good idea. Still other arrangements are possible. This has birkuoff us in our emphasis on the real and complex fields, on groups of transformations as contrasted with abstract groups, on symmetric matrices and reduction to diagonal form, on the classification of quadratic forms under the orthogonal and Euclidean groups, and finally, in the inclusion of Boolean algebra, lattice theory, and transfinite numbers, all of which are important in mathematical logic and in the modern theory of real functions.

Thus there is a careful development of real numbers, such as Dedekind cuts, and such set-theoretic concepts as order, countability and cardinal number are discussed.

Mac Lane has an enduring reputation as maclame great expositor. I knew how it should be done and so did Garrett. Some combination of the approaches of the above books ought to make an excellent undergraduate course.

Judson is good all around. Certainly, one can survive it, but it bbirkhoff probably suboptimal for most. Garrett Birkhoff published more than papers and supervised more than 50 Ph.

I think graduate courses should use category theory pretty openly. Because of the authors’ emphasis on “method” rather than “fact” the book will not be of much use as a reference work. Perhaps macpane lecture reviewing elementary set theoretical notions, then cover some linear algebra introducing basic category theory after seeing direct sumsthen cover some ring theory, then plenty of group theory, then modules and advanced linear algebra, followed by field and Galois theory, representation theory using algebras and specializing quickly to groupscommutative algebra including some applications to algebraic geometry and the likeand finally homological algebra, with some advanced or extra topics at the end, if possible e.

Accordingly, we have tried throughout to express the conceptual background of the various definitions used. Although my course was well attended, Birkhodf was much more research-oriented than teaching-oriented.