Stanford Math Circle

Stanford University Stanford Math Circle




Stanford Math Circle

If you have questions about the math circle not answered by our FAQ, please contact us!

Announcements

(June 2016)

We anticipate that we will begin accepting applications for the Fall, 2016 quarter of the Stanford Math Circles in August. Look for updates here and on our public mailing list in late July.


(APRIL 11, 2016)

(A) There are three free upcoming public math events on the Stanford campus -- one of which is a film about math circles! All are at Cubberly Auditorium, and all begin at 7:30 PM see http://web.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/CubberleyDirections.html  for directions. 
    (1) On April 21, the Stanford Mathematics Department and the Society for Art & Cultural Heritage of India present an evening celebrating the life and legacy of Ramanujan in connection with the forthcoming film about him, “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” .There will be Q&A session afterward with the film's director and two Stanford mathematicians who will discuss Ramanujan's mathematical legacy. http://mathematics.stanford.edu/2016/03/11/film-celebration-of-ramanujan/

    (2) on April 28,   Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies and the Stanford Math Circle will present a film "Navajo Math Circles", about the collaboration of Navajo teachers and mathematicians to create math circles in this underserved community. There will be a Q&A session afterward with Tatiana Shubin, a math professor at San Jose State, who was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the circle [and is a frequent session leader at Bay Area Math Circles, including our own]. You can learn more about the film at: http://www.zalafilms.com/navajo/
[If you can't make it to Stanford on that day -- or if you're ATTENDING one of our math circles, some of which, unfortunately, overlap with the time of the movie -- there are two other screenings in the Bay Area, one at the Exploratorium in San Francisco on Saturday, April 16, at 2 PM http://www.exploratorium.edu/visit/calendar/saturday-cinema-navajo-math-circles   and one in Berkeley on Wednesday, April 20th, at 7 PM , at the Rialto Cinema/Elmwood at College and Ashby http://www.rialtocinemas.com/index.php?location=elmwood&film=2016_navajo I don't think those are free, though.)

    (3) Finally, on May 4, , Susan Holmes, from the Stanford Statistics Department, will give a public talk entitled:  “Breaking Codes and Finding Patterns”  http://mathematics.stanford.edu/2016/03/11/public-lecture-by-susan-holmes-on-may-5/

(B) Nueva School is hosting another Math Circle event on Friday April 29th from 5 to 8:30 PM. It's sort of a one-day-only math circle, they'll have programs for students from Pre-K to 11th grade, and you don't have to be a Nueva student to participate. The high school program will be led by Ravi Vakil, faculty sponsor of the Stanford math circle. " Parents are invited to participate with their children in the Math Circle, and are asked to supervise their own children. This is not a drop-off event."  Space is limited, so sign up soon. See http://www.nuevaschool.org/outreach/math-circles  for details.


(C) There are two upcoming Julia Robinson Math Festivals on the Peninsula, always great fun! These are also a little like a math circle, they have lots of tables with interesting math activities (and an instructor at each table to guide students). Working on problems earns you raffle tickets for prizes. The first is at Girl's Middle School in Palo Alto on the afternoon of Saturday, April 30, it's open to girls in grades 4-9, see http://jrmf.org/festival.php?id=87  to sign up. The second is at Stanford on Sunday, May 1, for grades 6-12   go to http://jrmf.org/festival.php?id=98  to sign up

OLDER ANNOUNCEMENTS

(January 6, 2016)

AMC 10 & AMC 12 are each 75 minute, 25 question math competitions in secondary school mathematics containing problems which can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts. Any student in grade 12 or younger may take the AMC 12; only students in grade 10 or younger may take the AMC 10. The contests are meant to be enjoyable, spurring interest in mathematics and offering challenging problems of a different nature than those you may encounter in a math class.

The Stanford Math Circle, in cooperation with the Stanford Math Department and the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Program, will once again be offering the AMC 10/12 contests to Bay Area students who are not otherwise able to participate. Students who attend a school where the contests are offered must take them at their own school -- most high schools, and even some middle schools, already give the AMC contests.

I hate to keep harping on this restriction, but it's important. We would like to make it possible for everyone to take these contests, but we do have limited space. Every year we fill up and must turn away students. Students who can take the contest at their own schools must do so, both to make the test available to others and to help with test security. PLEASE read the eligibility requirements and VERIFY that your school does not offer these contests.

If you are uncertain whether your school participates in the AMC 10 or 12, you may consult http://amc-reg.maa.org/amc_external/SchoolSearchByZipCode.aspx , which will tell you if they participated last year or if they have already signed up to participate this year. Please do this before signing up to take the contest at Stanford. Be aware that some schools may sign up just shortly before the date of the contest. The best way to be sure is to contact the math department of your school.

Note that even if your own school does not offer the AMC 10 or 12, it is possible there is another test site nearer to you than Stanford that does -- for example, the Fremont Union High School district has offered the tests at a district-wide location in recent years.

For 2016 the tests will be offered on Tuesday February 2 (the "A" tests) and Wednesday February 17 (the "B" tests). Students may participate in either test, or both -- it is possible to take the AMC 10 on one date and the AMC 12 on the other, assuming all other eligibility requirements are met. Students who do NOT attend a school where the contest is given may sign up to take the contest at Stanford here: http://tinyurl.com/gmm2bk8


Another great contest is the tenth annual North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) this will be on January 28, 2016. There will be test sites at Stanford (run by the linguistics department) and San Jose State and possibly at some local high schools. Check the NACLO handbook for more information as well as the Stanford site https://sites.google.com/site/naclostanford/. (Note -- the Math Circle does not run this contest, and can't answer any questions about its logistics. )

"This olympiad is a contest in which high-school students solve linguistic puzzles. In solving the problems, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary. Professionals in linguistics, computational linguistics and language technologies use dozens of languages to create engaging problems that represent cutting edge issues in their fields. The competition has attracted top students to study and work in those same fields. It is truly an opportunity for young people to experience a taste of natural-language processing in the 21st century."

(November 16, 2015)

We are currently accepting applications for the Winter quarter of the math circles. Note that students currently enrolled in the Math Circles for Winter quarter must reapply to indicate that they wish to continue in the circle (they are guaranteed acceptance if they reapply by December 2; after that date, we may begin filling spaces from the wait list). Students currently on the waitlist who wish to remain active on the list must also reapply by the same date.

After December 2nd, we will re-admit continuing students, then fill all remaining spaces by lottery from the wait lists. Students will be informed of their application status on or before Wednesday, December 9.

The winter quarter runs over 10 weeks, we meet every Thursday between Thursday, January 7 through Thursday, March 10. For details about our difference sections, see the FAQ.

Instructions for applicants are here

Four other upcoming events:

  • Stanford public mathematics talk by Tadashi Tokieda Thursday, December 3 @ 7:30 PM. in Hewlett 200 The event is free and for the general public, and Tokieda is a highly recommended public mathematics speaker. The lecture title is "Science from a Sheet of Paper."
  • the next free Bay Area Math Adventure will be on Friday December 4, at Santa Clara University mathematician Daniel Goldston will be speaking on "Sums and Differences of Pairs of Primes"
  • Proof School, a private middle school/high school in San Francisco for students who love mathematics is sponsoring a free math resource fair on Sunday, December 6, with representatives from Bay Area math programs (including the Stanford Math Circle), summer camps, and other things mathematically-motivated students and families should know about.
  • Physicist Robert Lang will give a talk on Tuesday December 8 @7:30 PM at Stanford (location to be announced) entitled "From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes: The Art and Science of Origami"

(October 12, 2015)

Ravi Vakil -- Stanford Math Professor (and math department faculty sponsor for the Math Circle) will be giving a public talk at the Proof School in San Francisco on Friday, Nov 6 at 6:30 PM. His talk is entitled "The Mathematics of Doodling". Tickets are free, but you do need to sign up in advance.

Celebration of Mind @ Stanford. This event is part of a global celebration held to honor the legacy of recreational mathematician Martin Gardner, a renowned author of popular mathematics. The program is free and open to the public for math enthusiasts of all ages, and takes place on Sunday, November 1, 3:00 – 5:30. The program consists of short talks in mathematics and related fields presented in Cubberley Auditorium, followed by mathematical puzzles, games and other activities in the Cubberley Lobby (for the very dedicated, there will be a celebration of Mind event on Saturday Oct 31 at MSRI in Berkeley, too!).

The AMC 8 is a fun mathematics competition, aimed primarily at middle schoool students, though some younger students may also enjoy the contest.This year, the contest will be held on Tuesday, November 17. The Stanford Math Circle will again offer the AMC 8 contest to local students. You don't have to be a member of the math circle to participate, but you DO have to be in 8th grade or younger, and if your own school offers the AMC 8, you must take it at your own school. Many local middle schools, and even a few elementary schools, already offer the AMC 8 to their students. [EXTRA: I have just learned from a headmaster that the local Challenger schools will be offering the AMC 8 this year!] You can find a list of all the schools that participated last year [or have already registered for this year] here: -- but the list may not yet be complete for this year, please confirm with your school's math department head that they will not be offering the AMC 8 before signing up to take it with us.

If you are interested and eligible in taking the AMC 8 contest at Stanford, please sign up here; We'll send followups with more information, times, driving instructions, etc,, to those who sign up during the week of November 9.

You can see problems and solutions from previous years of the AMC 8 here: And I've been told that edfinity also offers a free AMC 8 prep course.

(August 19, 2015)

Applications for fall quarter of the Stanford Math Circle are now open! We will be accepting applications until September 2, and admission decisions should go out by the end of the following week. All circles will begin on Thursday, September 24, and will meet every Thursday evening (except on Thanksgiving) through Thursday, December (inclusive), a total of 10 sessions.

If we have more applicants than space for a given circle (which is quite likely for the elementary and middle school circles) we will hold a lottery among those who applied by the deadline. Within the same age group for a circle, we give priority to students who are new to that level circle for fall quarter -- however, once admitted in the fall, a student will have priority for winter and spring quarters if he or she wishes to continue.

Tuition for 2015-2016 will be $275 per quarter. Financial aid is available for those for whom this is a hardship.

Sections and Application links:

We are expanding our middle school program, subdividing it into a 5th-6th grade circle and a 7th-8th grade circle. Our circles for fall will be

Grade placement in the elementary circles is based on a student’s age and grade in school, not his or her mathematics ability. For the advanced circle, we can accept some unusually prepared middle school students. Most often readiness for the advanced math circle is demonstrated through scores on math contests like the AMC 10, AIME, or BAMO.

All of these programs are primarily for students who are already excited about mathematics and want to see -- and do -- more than they have the opportunity to do in school. In the elementary circle, the focus is on logical reasoning, "thinking like a mathematician" and problem solving, rather than mathematical acceleration. In the middle and advanced circles, students are exposed to skills and topics in higher mathematics that are outside the standard curriculum. We may also do some practice sessions for middle school and high school mathematics contests (such at the AMC contests, BAMO, ARML, etc.), but that is not our primary emphasis.

At the application links listed above, students who have previously applied to any SPCS program (they are listed in great deal at the top) need only click the "Apply" button and sign in to their already-existing SPCS account; students who are new fill out two "preliminary" information sheets with basic information -- once that is complete, you will get an automated email that might say "your preliminary application is complete" -- but be aware that you need to explicitly click a radio button choosing at least one section to which you are applying to have an application submitted (you'll get an email when you submit that, too!)

See our FAQ for more details, and join our google groups mailing list to receive any updates.

(June 30, 2015)

The Stanford Math Circle is on summer break; The Fall quarter will begin in late September. We expect to open applications for fall quarter in mid-August, we will make announcements here when we are ready to begin accepting applications.

(February 23, 2015)

We are now accepting applications for the Spring quarter of the math circles. The deadline for applying to the math circle for spring quarter is Friday, March 6.

Students currently enrolled in the Math Circles for Winter quarter must reapply to indicate that they wish to continue in the circle (they are guaranteed acceptance if they reapply by Friday, March 6th; after that date, we may begin filling spaces from the wait list). Students currently on the waitlist should also reapply by Friday, March 6th to remain active on the wait list. New applications may also be made -- the deadline for all applications is Friday March 6th, applications submitted after that will only be considered if space is available.


Elementary Circle (grades 1-4) Middle School Circle (grades 5-8) Advanced Circle (grades 9-12)
FIRST TIME APPLYING THIS ACADEMIC YEAR Use this link to create and complete an application Use this link to create and complete an application whether first time applying this year or not. Use this link to create and complete an application whether first time applying this year or not.
RE-APPLYING (enrolled or waitlisted in fall or spring of this academic year) Use this link to login to your student page and select course preferences for next quarter

The spring quarter will begin on Thursday, April 2 and run for 10 weeks, ending on Thursday, June 4.

In other news: Proof School Talk! Po-Shen Loh. Po-Shen Loh, a frequent visitor to our math circle (Carnegie Mellon math professor, lead coach of the USA International Math Olympiad Team, co-founder of expii.com), will be giving a free public talk in San Francisco on Friday, March 6 from 7 to 8 PM. The location is Xavier Chapel in Fromm Hall, 650 Parker Avenue, San Francisco. He'll be talking on Very Very VERY large numbers:

Abstract:It's easy to generate large numbers for their own sake. A more interesting question is whether huge numbers ever arise naturally from simple-looking situations. In this talk, we will explore two examples of this phenomenon. The first will be a surprise from the International Mathematical Olympiad. The second concerns Szemeredi's Regularity Lemma, a result of central significance in graph theory.

(This sounds like a version of the math circle session he ran at our advanced circle in December 2013 -- which was really excellent! And any lecture or math circle of Po-Shen's is highly recommended.) The event is free, but you do need to sign up in advance.

Also, Bay Area Math Adventures will have their next session on Wednesday, March 4 at Santa Clara University. Frederico Ardila, of San Francisco State University will talk about Tilings in Combinatorics, Algebra, and Geometry. See http://www.mathematicaladventures.org/files/docs/14-15_BAMA_5.pdf

(December 17, 2014)

The Winter quarter of the Stanford Math Circle will begin on Thursday, January 8. It runs for 10 weeks, finishing on Thursday, March 12. We expext to re-open applications for Spring quarter in late February.

On December 11, the Advanced Math Circle finished the Fall quarter with an extra session, led by Po-Shen Loh, Carnegie Mellon Math professor, National Coach for the US International Mathematics Olympiad Team and co-founder of expii.com. The next day, he was off to New York, where he led a similar session at the New York Math Circle.

Save the date! The next Bay Area Math Adventure is coming on Friday, January 23 at Santa Clara University -- Carl Pomerance, of Dartmouth University, will be speaking on "What we still don't know about addition and multiplication" (one answer: more than you think!)

There are lots of great math contests coming up in late January and February (you don't have to be a member of the math circle to participate!)

  • On January 29, 2015, the ninth annual North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) will be held. This is the qualifying contest for a more advanced round, which is used to pick the US team for the International Linguistics Olympiad. There will be test sites at Stanford (run by the linguistics department) and San Jose State and possibly at some local high schools. Check the NACLO handbook for more information. (Note -- the Math Circle does not run this contest, we're just an enthusiastic supporter -- I mean, check out these problems!)
    "This olympiad is a contest in which high-school students solve linguistic puzzles. In solving the problems, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary. Professionals in linguistics, computational linguistics and language technologies use dozens of languages to create engaging problems that represent cutting edge issues in their fields. The competition has attracted top students to study and work in those same fields. It is truly an opportunity for young people to experience a taste of natural-language processing in the 21st century."
  • The "AMC 10" and "AMC 12" are each 75 minute, 25 question math competitions in secondary school mathematics containing problems which can be understood and solved with pre-calculus concepts. Any student in grade 12 or younger may take the AMC 12; only students in grade 10 or younger may take the AMC 10. The contests are meant to be enjoyable, spurring interest in mathematics and offering challenging problems of a different nature than those you may encounter in a math class. Please note that the "Registration" link at the web site linked above is for schools and test sites -- individual students do NOT register there, they take the test at their own school or sign up at another test site.

    The Stanford Math Circle, in cooperation with the Stanford Math Department and the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Program, will once again be offering the AMC 10/12 contests to Bay Area students who are not otherwise able to participate. Students who attend a school where the contests are offered must take them at their own school -- most high schools, and even some middle schools, already give the AMC contests.

    For 2014 the tests will be offered on Tuesday February 3 (the "A" tests) and Wednesday February 25 (the "B" tests). Students may participate in either test, or both -- it is possible to take the AMC 10 on one date and the AMC 12 on the other, assuming all other eligibility requirements are met. If you are uncertain whether your school participates in the AMC 10 or 12, you may consult this link, which will tell you if they participated last year or if they have already signed up to participate this year. Please do this before signing up to take the contest at Stanford. Students who do NOT attend a school where the contest is given may sign up to take the contest at Stanford here.

  • The Stanford Math Tournament will be held on Saturday, February 14. (Registration deadline: January 20). Teams compete in groups of up to eight students, and work on short answers as well as proof-based questions in their team, and also take an individual contest with a choice of either individual subject tests or a general test. Students who do not have a full team can choose to be joined with other incomplete teams. The contest runs in cooperation with Rice and Johns Hopkins Universities.
  • The Bay Area Math Olympiad will be held on February 24. This is a long (4 hours) proof-based contest, with a version for students in 8th grade and younger, and another version for students in 9th-12th grade. We anticipate offering this contest at Stanford for students who are not able to participate at their own schools, look for more details in late January. (Students -- especially those younger than 6th grade -- are strongly advised to try the contests from previous years to be sure they understand the nature of the contest before signing up)

Older Announcements


(October 14, 2014)

On Saturday, October 18 from 3 to 5 PM in Cubberly Auditorium, the Celebration of Mind at Stanford will be held. It's a free event for people of all ages who find enjoyment in recreational mathematics. See these driving directions (you may park without a permit on Saturdays)ote that parking permits are not required in "A" and "C" parking spaces on Saturdays.

This celebration is part of a global celebration held to honor the legacy of recreational mathematician Martin Gardner, a renowned author of popular mathematics, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. The program consists of short talks in mathematics and related fields presented in Cubberley Auditorium (directions and parking information below), followed by mathematical puzzles, games and other activities in the Cubberley Lobby.

The program includes talks by renowned computer scientist Donald Knuth and NY Times Numberplay blogger Gary Antonick, with activities and contributions from Elwyn Berlekamp, the Grabarchuk Family offering a puzzle contest (with prizes), Scott Vorthmann, Tom Davis, Karl Schaffer, Gwen Fisher, Andrea Hawksley, and others.

Sponsored by Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies, organized by Stan Isaacs and Rick Sommer.

Noted for making mathematics accessible to general audiences, Gardner was known for works from a column in Scientific American to the classic Lewis Carroll reference The Annotated Alice. Even those who don’t recognize his name will be familiar with ideas he helped popularize, from the work of M.C. Escher to flexagons and a method to determine the day of the week on a particular date. In order to commemorate his accomplishments and spirit, Celebrations of Mind are held all across the globe. For more information and to find a Celebration near you, visit www.g4g-com.org.


Please email us if you have any questions about the SMC!

Note: Stanford Math Circle is a solution of the following problem: Draw 12 circles in a plane so that every circle is tangent to exactly 5 others. Can you find other solutions?
Thanks to Paul Mennen, who wrote the code to generate this particular solution.


The Stanford Math Circle is jointly sponsored by the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Program and the Stanford University Department of Mathematics.

If you have questions about the Stanford Math Circle not answered by our FAQ, please contact us!