Math 280 - Algebraic Curves and Degenerations
Winter 2013

Instructor: Brian Osserman

Lectures: TR 1:10-2:30, MSB 3106.

CRN: 73968

Office: MSB 3218, e-mail:

Office Hour: W 2:10-3:00

Textbook: None (notes to be developed as course progresses)

Grading: Based on homework and attendance.

Homework: Homework will consist of bringing questions and/or comments each week about the lectures and posted notes for the course.


Algebraic curves are the most classical subject in algebraic geometry. We begin with a brief survey of the subject, and then focus on the theory of linear series on curves, and the use of degeneration techniques to prove important results in the subject. Although many of the main results were first stated in the 19th and early 20th century, the proofs took roughly a century to complete, and the techniques used in the proofs are still evolving today. Time permitting, we will explore some new developments in the subject.

Lecture notes

The purpose of this course is to develop a set of lecture notes on the theory of limit linear series. As such, I will be posting my notes here continuously (in the non-mathematical sense) as the quarter progresses.