FYS 129: Mathematics and Finances - Fall 2011

FYS 129: Mathematics and Finances - Fall 2011



Important Notes


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Instructor Contact and General Information


Instructor: Luís Finotti

Office: Ayres Hall 243

Phone: 974-1321 (please do not ask me to call back -- leave your e-mail)

e-mail: lfinotti@utk.edu

Office Hours: Tu,Th 10am-11am or by appointment (subject to change!!)


Textbook: Not required. Notes should suffice.

Prerequisite: None.

Class: W 2:30pm-3:20pm at Ayres 111. (Section 26.)

Exams: None.

Grade: Pass/Fail based on HWs and class participation. Attendance required!


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Course Information

The main goal of this course is to provide the necessary mathematical tools for you to understand finances, more precisely, investments and loans. As such, we will begin with exponential and logarithms, which play the central roles in this context. We will start those from the beginning, even though most students should be familiar with them. But we will try to do it in the most natural way, and hopefully offer a new perspective on them.

When we have mastered exponentials and logs, we will start with finances. The central topic is, of course, compound interest. We will deal with many very concrete examples of loans and investments. In particular, you will learn how to make a savings plan, and predict future values, giving you the ability to understand and take control of your financial situation/future.

If time allows, we will also deviate into (mathematically) related topics, such as radioactive decay and carbon dating.

Since this course will happen only once a week, it is very important that you take a quick look over the notes before class, so that you don't forget all that was done in the previous week.


Every once in a while (perhaps every class) I will assign a few problems. They should be quick and simple, with the main goal of making you practice what we've learned in class. An average of 60% is necessary to pass the course. You can work in groups, but each student has to write his own solutions and disclose the name of the other students in the group.

I will likely go over the solutions on the beginning of the class, so I can't accept late HWs, unless we've discussed it beforehand or you have a documented excuse.

Attendance is required! Every students has can miss up to two classes without justification. For more than two you will need a properly documented reason.


I have an On-line Feedback Form where you can anonymously send me your comments and suggestions. I will consider your comments and try to do whatever I can to resolve possible problems before it is too late. So, please, feel free to use it whenever you have any constructive comment or suggestion. (In fact, I would greatly appreciate it.) If you don't want you comments to be anonymous, just send me an e-mail or come by my office and we can discuss the problem.


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Legal Issues


All students should be familiar and maintain their Academic Integrity: from
Hilltopics 2011/2012, pg. 41:

Academic Integrity

Study, preparation and presentation should involve at all times the student’s own work, unless it has been clearly specified that work is to be a team effort. Academic hon- esty requires that the student present his or her own work in all academic projects, including tests, papers, homework, and class presentation. When incorporating the work of other scholars and writers into a project, the student must accurately cite the source of that work. (See Academic Standards of Conduct, pg. 12.)

All students should follow the Honor Statement: from Hilltopics 2011/2012, pg. 12:

Honor Statement

``An essential feature of The University of Tennessee is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the University, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.''

You should also be familiar with the Classroom Behavior Expectations.


Students with disabilities that need special accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services and bring me the appropriate letter/forms.

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

For Sexual Harassment and Discrimination information, please visit the Office of Equity and Diversity.  

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Important dates:


Wednesday, August 17 - Classes begin.

Friday, August 26 - Last day to add, change grade options, or drop a full semester course without a "W".

Monday, September 05 - Labor Day Holiday. (No class.)

Thursday-Friday, September 29-30 - Fall Break. (No class.)

Tuesday, November 08 - Last day to drop a full term course with a "W".

Thursday-Friday, November 24-25 - Thanksgiving. (No class.)

Tuesday, November 29 - Last Class Day.  

More dates.


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PLEASE, HIT ``REFRESH'' (OR ``RELOAD'') IN YOUR BROWSER WHEN VISITING THIS PAGE!!!!!!! I usually get messages asking for the update in the HW when it has already been updated. Since I change this page often, some times the browser don't see the changes. But, if you hit refresh and there is still problems missing, feel free to write me.


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