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The University of Southampton

GSCI0010 Mathematics for Scientists

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide students with the mathematics knowledge and skills required for a successful transition to degree-level study in disciplines related to the chemical and biological sciences. The material covered is at a level corresponding to pre-university qualifications such as ASlevel in the UK.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • recall, select and use knowledge of mathematical techniques appropriate to the study of the sciences;
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of mathematical processes.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • apply mathematical processes, skills and knowledge to some real scientific situations and to solve simple problems;
  • interpret data and a variety of graphs and communicate information mathematically.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • manage your own learning;
  • apply mathematical methods to solve simple problems.


Topic 1 :Revision Revision of numerical & algebraic skills Note: Numerical fractions, algebraic fractions, cancelling & crossmultiplication, transposition of formulae, indices and surds. Topic 2: Equations and Polynomials • set up and solve simple equations as well as linear simultaneous equations in two unknowns using substitution and elimination • set up and solve quadratic equations using factorisation and formula . Note: do not need to be able to use completing the square Topic 3: Indices and Logarithms • understand rational indices (positive, negative & zero) including indices expressed as fractions and use them to simplify algebraic expressions • be able to express a number in the form x´10n • understand the relationship between indices and logs with special reference to log10 and loge (ln) • use the laws of logarithms to simplify expressions • be able to change the base of logs • be familiar with graphs of e x and e-x use logs to solve equations of the form ax = b and a 2x + ax + b = 0 Topic 4: Graphs • use coordinates to plot graphs of algebraic equations • find gradients and equations of straight lines • understand the relationship between gradients of parallel and perpendicular lines • plot graphs of pairs of equations Topic 5: Linear laws • use the equation of the straight line y = mx+ c in determining a linear law • determine non-linear laws reducible to linear form, such as y = ax 2 + b, y = Topic 6: Trigonometry • be aware of the 6 trigonometric functions, and use sin, cos and tan to solve problems in 2D and 3D • know forms of graphs for sin, cos and tan and understand the derivation of the positive and negative values • know the values of sin, cos and tan for common angles in the range 0o £x £ 360 o e.g. 0o, 30o, 45o,etc in surd form • be able to use the sine and cosine rules • know that area of triangle = ½ bh = ½ absinC • understand definition of a radian and be able to convert degrees«radians • use formulae s = rq and A = ½r 2q Topic 7: Statistics • promote understanding of statistical terms, the ways of gathering and displaying data as well as an awareness of bias • use analytical techniques to explain, justify and predict from data Topic 8: Matrices • add subtract and multiply matrices • identify null and identity matrices • evaluate determinant of 2x2 matrices • understand and use AA-1 = A -1A = I • formulate and solve linear simultaneous equations for 2 unknowns as matrix equations and solve using the inverse matrix method Topic 9: Differentiation • understand the gradient of a curve at a point as the limit of the gradients of a sequence of chords • Notes: should understand how to find derivatives of simple functions from first principles • use the derivative of x n, lnx, ex, sinx, cosx, tanx and constant multiples, sums/differences of these • find gradient of a curve at a point • find equation of tangent/normal to a curve at a point • use the product and quotient rules • use the chain rule to differentiate functions of the form f(g(x)) • understand that a derivative gives a rate of change • find the second derivative of a function • locate stationary points and distinguish between maxima and minima (by any method) Note: should know that not all stationary points are maxima or minima but don't need to know conditions for points of inflexion Topic 10: Integration • understand integration as the reverse of differentiation; integrate xn (including n = -1) ex sinx cosx sin2x together with sums/differences and constant multiples of these • use integration to find a region bounded by a curve and two ordinates or by two curves • use the trapezium rule and Simpson's rule to obtain approximate values for definite integrals • apply integration to find volumes of revolution about the x-axis

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • lectures, to include worked examples and question/answer sessions; • ativities guided through work packs; • discussion and workshops. Learning activities include: • Lectures and group taught sessions; • individual work on examples, supported by tutor input, scussion and workshop sessions; • work pack activities and additional worksheets; • open book sessments to support learning in this module; . • private study and use of recommended text books; • resources hosted on the Virtual Learning Environment. Study Time allocation: • Contact Hours: 120 • Private Study hours: 180 • Total study time: 180 hours

Supervised time in studio/workshop48
Follow-up work90
Wider reading or practice36
Preparation for scheduled sessions36
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Anthony Croft and Robert Davison (5th). Foundation Maths. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 40%
Assignment 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 40%
Assignment 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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