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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MATH3215 Hilbert Spaces and Fourier Analysis

15 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr D. L. Salinger

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

MATH2015, or equivalent.

This module is mutually exclusive with

MATH3181Inner Product and Metric Spaces

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

A Hilbert space is an infinite-dimensional analogue of Euclidean space. It possesses the structure of a vector space together with notions of orthogonality and distance. The techniques of Fourier series resolve complicated wave forms into frequencies and phases. From those frequencies and phases the original wave form can be recaptured. In the last third of the module, we shall develop the theory of linear operators, which are the natural generalization of matrices and mappings on finite-dimensional spaces. We shall examine the role eigenvalues play in this setting and see how they generalise to the notion of spectrum.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
a) calculate the Fourier coefficients of certain elementary functions;
b) perform a range of calculations involving orthogonal expansions in Hilbert spaces;
c) apply functional analytic techniques to the study of Fourier series;
d) give the definitions and basic properties of various classes of operators (including the classes of compact, Hermitian, and unitary operators) on a Hilbert space, and use them in specific examples;
e) prove results related to the theorems in the course.


1. Real and complex Fourier series. Vibrating string.
2. Banach spaces (basic definitions only).
3. Hilbert spaces. Subspaces. Linear spans. Orthogonal expansions. Bessel's inequality. The Riesz-Fischer theorem. Orthogonal complements.
4. Applications to Fourier series. Fejer's theorem. Parseval's formula. Sums of numerical series. The Weierstrass approximation theorem.
5. Dual space of a normed space. Self-duality of Hilbert space.
6. Linear operators. Adjoint. Hermitian, unitary and normal operators. B(H) as a Banach space. The spectrum of an operator on a Hilbert space. The spectral radius formula.
7. Compact operators. Hilbert-Schmidt operators.
8. The spectral theorem for compact Hermitian operators.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Example Class61.006.00
Private study hours117.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Reading lecture notes: 78 hours;
Solving coursework problems: 25 hours;
Preparing for examinations: 14 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Regular exercise sheets.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 08/05/2009


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