Math 4250: Differential Geometry

Welcome to the homepage for Differential Geometry (Math 4250/6250)!

In Spring 2024, this is planned to be an in-person class consisting (mostly) of active lecture with some in-class active learning components. This webpage hosts a complete collection of course materials: readings, notes, videos, and related homework assignments. We won’t use eLC.

The course textbook is by Ted Shifrin, which is available for free online here. The course will cover the geometry of smooth curves and surfaces in 3-dimensional space. An alternate book is Do Carmo, Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces. This book is on reserve for you at the Science Library in Boyd.

Homework will be submitted (and exams returned) via Gradescope. All current students have been entered in the class; if you’re joining late, please email me to be added. The schedule for completion of the material, and the templates for the homework assignments are in Gradescope. You should download and print out the template for each homework assignment, complete the work, and then scan and upload your work.

Each homework assignment has a due date (and a late date). There is no penalty for submitting homework by the “late” due date. However, we generally can’t grade or accept assignments after the late due date. It will help you pace yourself if you complete as many assignments as you can by the original due date. Please submit anything you have by the late date; if you are unable to start by that time, move on to a different assignment and contact me to see if we can accept later work. 

There are a few different kinds of homework assignments.

  1.  “Problem Set” assignments. These are complete problem sets for you to take home and think about on your own or with your study group, usually with 10 or so questions. You generally have 1-2 weeks to complete a problem set.
  2. “After class” assignments. These are small collections of short problems for you to think about in-between classes. The due date is generally the next class period, so you may only have a few days to complete an “after class” assignment.
  3. “Active Learning” assignments. These problem sets are designed to be worked on in class, and often introduce new material in between the problems. You should complete most of an active learning assignment during the class period, but you’ll generally have a week to write up a final version of your work before it’s turned in for grading.

We also have a course syllabus.

Course Material

  1. (no reading quiz) Parametrized curves, the dot product, cross product, and triple product.
    1. Reading: OpenStax physics chapter 2 (vectors and scalars) 
    2. Optional video: 3Blue1Brown “Essence of linear algebra” series
      1. Note: The video playlist is basically an entire course on linear algebra. So I certainly don’t expect anyone to watch the whole thing. However, it’s a really good resource– if you feel like you want to refresh your memory on a particular topic– you can just watch that particular video.
    3. Problem Set. Scalar and Vector Products. (Gradescope).
    4. After class homework. Getting comfortable again with Linear Algebra (Gradescope).
  2. (no reading quiz) Video: A Tale of Two Matrices
    1. Active Learning. A Tale of Two Matrices (Gradescope).
  3. (no reading quiz) Video: Of symmetries, solids and coordinates
    1. Active Learning. The Dot Product, Point Groups, and Regular Solids (Gradescope).
    2. Optional reading: Coxeter, Regular Polytopes, Chapter 3.
    3. Optional reading: Verheyen, The complete set of Jitterbug transformers and the analysis of their motion.
  4. (no reading quiz) Constructing  Parametrized  Curves.
    1. Reading: Shifrin, p. 1-6. 
  5. (reading quiz) Video: The Tractrix
    1. Reading: The Tractrix (a different approach)
    2. Problem Set. Hyperbolic Trigonometric Functions (Gradescope).
  6. (reading quiz) Arc-length and Regular Curves.
    1. Reading: Shifrin, p. 6-8. 
    2. Problem Set. Reparametrizing curves by arclength (Gradescope).
  7. (no reading quiz) Video: The square-wheeled car.
    1. Active Learning. The Square-Wheeled car (Gradescope).
  8. (reading quiz) Curvature and Framings for plane curves
    1. Problem Set. Curvature of plane curves.
    2. Problem Set for 6250 Students. Support Functions, Convexity and the Isoperimetric Inequality. (Gradescope).
  9. (reading quiz) Framed curves in space and the Frenet frame.
    1. Video:  Introduction to framings (video).
    2. Reading: Shifrin, p. 12-20.
    3. After class: Curves and Framings (Gradescope).
  10. (reading quiz) The Frenet frame without an arclength parametrization.
    1. Reading: Shifrin, p. 12-20. (Note: This is the same reading as last time.) 
    2. Optional video: The Gram-Schmidt Process (Khan Academy)
    3. Optional video: Gram-Schmidt Example (Khan Academy)
    4. Problem Set. The Frenet Frame without an arclength parametrization. (Gradescope).
  11. (reading quiz) Why are curvature and torsion important?
    1. Reading: Shifrin, p. 23-34.
    2. Problem Set. Curvature and Torsion Theorems. (Gradescope).
  12. Intersection measure for plane curves. (Skipped in Spring 2023 course)
  13. Integralgeometric measure for space curves. (Skipped in Spring 2023 course)
    1. Minihomework: Integralgeometric measure experiment.
    2. Video: Integralgeometric measure homework walkthrough.
    3. Software resource: FijI image analysis program.
  14. Geometric Inequalities for Curves. (Skipped in Spring 2023 course)
  15. The Fabricius-Bjerre Theorem. (Skipped in Spring 2023 course)
  16. (3/14 and 3/16) Midterm Exam, Parts 1 and 2. Covers material from start of course through 3/2: “Curvature and Torsion Theorems”. Open book (see description below.)
  17. (3/21-3/23, reading quiz) Linear Functions and Quadratic Forms. The Gradient and Hessian.
    1. After class. The Gradient and the Hessian.  (Gradescope).
  18. (3/28, reading quiz) Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors. Paraboloids: elliptic, hyperbolic, and cylindrical.
    1. Video: 3Blue1Brown “Essence of Linear Algebra”
      1. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors 
    2. Problem Set. Understanding Paraboloids. (Gradescope).
    3. Extra Credit. Quadratic Surface Projects. (Gradescope).
      1. Video: Hyperbolic Paraboloid with Skewers
  19. (reading quiz) Surfaces and the First Fundamental Form.
    1. Reading. Shifrin 2.1. (all pages)
    2. Problem Set. The First Fundamental Form. (Gradescope).
    3. Problem Set for 6250 Students. The Intrinsic Gradient. (Gradescope). 
  20. (reading quiz) The Gauss Map and the Second Fundamental Form.
    1. Reading. Shifrin 2.2. pages 46-48
    2. After class: If the shape operator is the identity, the surface is a sphere. (Gradescope).
    3. After class. Self-adjoint maps and symmetric matrices. (Gradescope).
  21. (reading quiz) More about the second fundamental form and curvature
    1. Reading. Shifrin 2.2 pages 47-49.
  22. (Homework only.) A (lengthy) example.
    1. Reading. Shifrin 2.2 Example 6. pages 49-50.
    2. Problem Set. The fundamental example of surface theory. (Gradescope).
    3. Graduate reading: The Implicit and Inverse Function Theorems: Easy Proofs, Oliveira.
  23. (reading quiz) Surfaces of Revolution and the Space Forms
    1. Reading. Shifrin 2.2 pages 50-53.
  24. (no reading quiz) The Meaning of Mean Curvature. 
  25. (no reading quiz) Gauss-Bonnet and the Meaning of Gauss Curvature.

Course Evaluation.

The midterm exam will be held in class. You may bring up to 10 pages of notes with you. In addition, you can bring any calculator permitted for the SAT Math Subject test. The course final will be held on Thursday, May 4 at 12:00pm.

Some optional additional reading.

These papers should be readable after you’ve taken the class. Especially if you’re graduate-school bound, you may enjoy reading them (and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you!)

  1. An Inequality for Closed Space Curves. G.D. Chakerian, 1962.
  2. Curves and Surfaces in Euclidean Space. S.S. Chern, 1967. Section 1 or Section 5.
  3. A Geometric Inequality for Plane Curves with Restricted Curvature. G.D. Chakerian, H.H. Johnson, A. Vogt. 1976.
  4. A Spherical Fabricius-Bjerre Formula with Applications to Closed Space Curves. J. Weiner. 1987.
  5. Curves of Constant Precession. P. Scofield. 1995.
  6. Tantrices of Spherical Curves. B. Solomon. 1996.
  7. A Four Vertex Theorem for Polygons. S. Tabachnikov. 2000.
  8. There is more than one way to frame a curve . R. Bishop. 
  9. h-Principles for Curves and Knots of Constant Curvature . M. Ghomi.

Some optional additional notes.

Optional additional material for the course can be found on the course archive page. This is a collection of material incorporated into previous versions of the class.

Material on this page is a work-for-hire produced for the University of Georgia.