Math 432    Mathematical Models in Life and Social Sciences    Spring, 2015

TuTh, 11:45am - 1:00pm;   Room: SAS Hall 2229.

Instructor: Michael Shearer     Office: SAS 3228     Phone: 515-3298    Email:

Office Hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays 11:00-11:30 p.m., and by appointment.

Books: “Modeling and Simulation in Medicine and the Life Sciences”. Frank C Hoppensteadt
and Charles S. Peskin, second edition 2002, Springer Verlag.  On reserve, D.H. Hill library

“Mathematical Models in Biology”. Leah Edelstein-Keshet, Classics in Applied
Mathematics, SIAM. ebook at D.H. Hill library

“An Introduction to Mathematical Models in the Social and Life Sciences”, Michael Olinick, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Massachusetts, 1978.  On reserve, D.H. Hill library

“Building Models for Conservation and Wildlife Management”, Second edition, A.M. Starfield, A.L. Bleloch, Burgess International Group Inc., Minnesota, 1991.  On reserve, D.H. Hill library

Prerequisite MA 341, (MA 305 or MA 405), and programming proficiency; Corequisite: (MA 421 or ST 371)

Basic Grading Scale: 90%-100%: A, 80%-89%: B, etc.   (+ and - will also be used.)

Course Objectives, Grading and Exams, etc.

Presentation 2 (March 26th )
1: Focus introduction - should state why your problem is interesting
        2: Specify your problem what question will you answer.
        3: Describe facts about the system you model and display data you will use for model validation
        4: Show updated model diagram
        5: Discuss model assumptions
        6: Show model equations
        7: Show initial computations

        Hand in outline for report - all sections should be named, and an introduction should be written.
        Discuss briefly what goes in each section.

Presentation 3 (last day of class April 23rd - expect extended class-time)
        1: Introduction.
Explain context for the modeling
Specify your problem and state why your problem is interesting
            c. Formulate the question you answer
        2: The model.
            a. State assumptions
            b. Define variables
            c. Show diagram of model
            d. State model equations, describe parameters
        3. Properties of model.
            a. Perform preliminary mathematics - nondimensionalization, manipulation of equations.
            b. Display solutions, analytic or computational, with graphs and/or tables.
        4. Results and discussion.
            a. Describe results and how they help answer the key question
            b. Discuss other aspects of the model, weaknesses, further developments
        5. Bibliography. List references to papers, books, web resources, etc. you refer to for modeling or data,
            computer programming, etc.

Hand in printed draft of report April 21st - it should be complete, ready for final comments only.
The report can follow the organization of the presentation.

Final report to be handed in at my office SAS3228. Due Tuesday, May 5th.
I need one report per group. I decided not to have the individual question component.

Class Policies
1. I encourage you to discuss homework and projects with other students, or with me during office hours. 
2. You are expected to attend all classes on time. Classroom discussion and questions in class help clarify issues in this course, so please feel free to participate by asking questions.

3. Arriving late for a class or leaving early is very disruptive of class. If you need to leave early, please let me know at the beginning of class, and sit near the door so you can slip out quietly.

Online class evaluations will be available for students to complete during the last 2 weeks of spring and become unavailable before finals begin.
Students will receive an email message directing them to a website where they can login using their Unity ID and complete evaluations.  All evaluations are confidential; instructors will not know how any one student responded to any question, and students will not know the ratings for any instructors.
Evaluation website:
Student help desk:
More information about ClassEval:

Academic Integrity Statement: Students are expected to follow university guidelines, which may be viewed by following the links at:

Further Statements:
Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable
disabilities.  In order to take advantage of available accomodations,
students must register with Disability Services for Students at 1900
Student Health Center, Campus Box 7509, 515-7653.  For more information
on NC State's policy on working with students with disabilities, please
see the Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Regulation (REG02.20.1)