Madison Math Circle
For the site in Spanish, visit Math Circle de Madison
What is a Math Circle?
The Madison Math Circle is a weekly series of mathematically based activities aimed at interested middle school and high school students. It is an outreach program organized by the UW Math Department. Our goal is to provide a taste of exciting ideas in math and science. In the past we've had talks about plasma and weather in outer space, video game graphics, and encryption. In the sessions, students (and parents) are often asked to explore problems on their own, with the presenter facilitating a discussion. The talks are independent of one another, so new students are welcome at any point.
The level of the audience varies quite widely, including a mix of middle school and high school students, and the speakers generally address this by considering subjects that will be interesting for a wide range of students.
After each talk we'll have pizza provided by the Mathematics Department, and students will have an opportunity to mingle and chat with the speaker and with other participants, to ask questions about some of the topics that have been discussed, and also about college, careers in science, etc.
The Madison Math circle was featured in Wisconsin State Journal: check it out!
All right, I want to come!
We have a weekly meeting, Monday at 6pm in 3255 Helen C White Library, during the school year. New students are welcome at any point! There is no fee and the talks are independent of one another, so you can just show up any week, but we ask all participants to take a moment to register by following the link below:
All of your information is kept private, and is only used by the Madison Math Circle organizer to help run the Circle.
If you are a student, we hope you will tell other interested students about these talks, and speak with your parents or with your teacher about organizing a car pool to the UW campus. If you are a parent or a teacher, we hope you'll tell your students about these talks and organize a car pool to the UW (all talks take place in 3255 Helen C White Library, on the UW-Madison campus, right next to the Memorial Union).
Directions and parking
Our meetings are held on the 3rd floor of Helen C. White Hall in room 3255.
Parking. Parking on campus is rather limited. Here is as list of some options:
- There is a parking garage in the basement of Helen C. White, with an hourly rate. Enter from Park Street.
- A 0.5 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via these directions, many spots (free starting 4:30pm) in Lot 26 along Observatory Drive.
- A 0.3 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via these directions, many spots (free starting 4:30pm) in Lot 34.
- A 0.3 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via these directions, 2 metered spots (25 minute max) in front of Lathrop Hall.
- A 0.2 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via these directions 6 metered spots (25 minute max) around the loop in front of Chadbourne Hall .
- For more information, see the UW-Madison Parking Info website.
The best way to keep up to date with the what is going is by signing up for our email list. Send an empty email to email@example.com
Contact the organizers
The Madison Math Circle is organized by a group of professors and graduate students from the Department of Mathematics at the UW-Madison. If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the organizers here. We are always interested in feedback!
Please consider donating to the Madison Math Circle. As noted in our annual report, our main costs consist of pizza and occasional supplies for the speakers. So far our costs have been covered by donations from the UW Mathematics Department as well as a generous gifts from a private donor. But our costs are rising, primarily because this year we expect to hold more meetings than in any previous year. In fact, this year, we expect to spend at least $2500 on pizza and supplies alone.
So please consider donating to support your math circle! The easiest way to donate is to go to the link:
There are instructions on that page for donating to the Math Department. Be sure and add a Gift Note saying that the donation is intended for the "Madison Math Circle"! The money goes into the Mathematics Department Annual Fund and is routed through the University of Wisconsin Foundation, which is convenient for record-keeping, etc.
Alternately, you can bring a check to one of the Math Circle Meetings. If you write a check, be sure to make it payable to the "WFAA" and add the note "Math Circle Donation" on the check.
Or you can just pay in cash, and we'll give you a receipt.
Help us grow!
If you like Math Circle, please help us continue to grow! Students, parents, and teachers can help by:
- Posting our flyer at schools or anywhere that might have interested students
- Discussing the Math Circle with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others
- Making an announcement about Math Circle at PTO meetings
- Donating to Math Circle
Contact the organizers if you have questions or your own ideas about how to help out.
Meetings for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Unless specified talks start at 6pm in room 3255 of Helen C. White Library, unless otherwise noted.
|September 18, 2017||Daniel Erman||Welcome to the Madison Math Circle!|
|September 25, 2017||Betsy Stovall||Math is a game!|
|October 2, 2017||Rachel Davis||Thinking outside the box|
|October 9, 2017||Solly Parenti||Hackenbush|
|October 16, 2017||Mihaela Ifrim||Escape of the Clones!|
|October 23, 2017||Ryan Julian||Recursion for Fun and Profit|
|October 30, 2017||John Wiltshire-Gordon||Euler Characteristic|
|November 6, 2017||Wanlin Li||How to Outsmart a State Test?|
|November 13, 2017||Jean-Luc Thiffeault||Goldbug Variations|
|November 20, 2017||Ethan Beihl||Boomerang Sequences|
|January 29, 2018||No Meeting - Cancelled|
|February 5, 2018||Ben Wright||Mobius Band Magic|
|February 12, 2018||Daniel Erman|||
|February 19, 2018||Brandon Boggess||Towers of Hanoi|
|February 26, 2018||Becky Eastham||No Pigeons Will Be Harmed During This Talk|
|March 5, 2018||Juliette Bruce||Doodling Dreams|
|March 12, 2018||Solly Parenti||Tangled up in Two|
|March 19, 2018||Edwin Baeza||Mathematics and Sound Design|
|March 26, 2018||No Meeting - (Spring Break)|
|April 2, 2018||Carrie Chen|||
|April 9, 2018||Betsy Stovall
|Mini Math Circles |
End of Year Celebration
We will hold some Math Circle meetings at local high schools on early release days. Our schedule for 2017-2018 has not yet been determined. If you are interesting in having us come to your high school, please contact us!
|October 2nd||2:45pm||East High School - Madison, WI||Moisés Herradón||How to make it as a Hackenbush player in the planet Zubenelgenubi 4|
|November 2nd||9:30am||Wisconsin Institute for Discovery - Madison, WI||Alisha Zachariah|
|November 2nd (Canceled)||11:00am||Wisconsin Institute for Discovery - Madison, WI||Zach Charles|
|November 2nd||6:00pm||Whitewater High School - Whitewater, WI||Juliette Bruce|
|November 3rd||10:30am||KM Global - Wales, WI||Betsy Stovall|
|November 27th||2:45pm||JMM High School - Madison, WI||Juliette Bruce|
|December 11th||2:45pm||East High School - Madison, WI||John Wiltshire-Gordon|
|February 19th||2:45pm||East High School - Madison, WI||Jordan Ellenberg||Is math destroying the right to vote?|
|March 1st||9:30am||Wisconsin Institute for Discovery - Madison, WI||Wanlin Li|
|March 1st||10:45am||Wisconsin Institute for Discovery - Madison, WI||Daniel Erman|
|March 5th||2:45pm||JMM High School - Madison, WI||Zach Charles||1+1 = 10 or "How does my computer do anything?"|
|March 19th||2:45pm||East High School - Madison, WI||Phil Wood||The Mathematics of Winning Strategies|
|April 30th||2:45pm||JMM High School - Madison, WI||TBD||TBD|