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Topic: algebra texts
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Barron, Alfred [PRI]

Posts: 20
Registered: 12/6/04
algebra texts
Posted: Jan 8, 1997 12:39 PM
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Concerning basic abstract algebra texts. I used Herstein's
"Topics in Algebra" (2nd ed), as I'm sure many in the math-
ematical community have. However, I also kept a copy of
Fraleigh's book (2nd ed) close by as it was easier to follow.
Same for Schaum's outline on Group Theory.

Recently, I purchased a first edition of something called
"Abstract Algebra" by Herstein in a used book store. Why
did he write this book ? Was there some resistence to his
"Topics" ? I recall only 5 students in our class. Maybe it's
more popular now ?

I recall a conversion I had with Richard Wilson at Rutgers
(circa 1978) where he disuaded me from taking a course in
number theory, arguing in favor of abstract algebra's focus
on structure. The former, he added, was learned better after
a course on complex analysis, and preferably in graduate
school (He also talked me out of combinatorics, though
I went on to graduate school in probability and statistics).

Is this philosophy still in vague ? Was it ever ? As it turned
out, my girldfriend's brother took a course in number theory
(taught by Bumby) some time later. I helped him with the
proofs in his homework (he was a business/computer science
major and had no idea ...). Well, he received a B in his final
exam, I read most of the text (Burton) that summer, and later
married his sister. So all came out well.

Al Barron

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