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Math Circles & Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad

What is a Math Circle?

Math Circles bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with pre-college students. These students (and sometimes their teachers) meet with mathematics professionals in an informal setting, after school or on weekends, to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics. These interactions get students excited about mathematics and provide them with a community to foster their passion for mathematical thinking.

A New Home for Math Circles

The National Association of Math Circles (NAMC) began as an MSRI program. As of 2019, the NAMC has transferred to the American Institute of American Institute of Mathematics, based in San Jose, another mathematics institute supported by the National Science Foundation. You can learn more about Math Circles at mathcircles.org.

Math Circles from MSRI on Vimeo.

Navajo Math Circles Documentary Film

Navajo Math Circles (2016)

Hundreds of Navajo children in recent years have found themselves at the center of a lively collaboration with mathematicians from around the world. The children stay late after school and assemble over the summer to study mathematics, using a model called Math Circles, which originated in Eastern Europe and has proliferated across the United States. This notion of student-centered learning puts children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction, with potentially long-lasting results. Navajo Math Circles, a one-hour film, documents this process over a two year period. This film has aired on public television throughout the United States in 2016-2017.

History of MSRI Math Circles

nmc logo The National Association of Math Circles was an MSRI sponsored organization that provides a support structure for Math Circles and similar programs. The primary focus of the NAMC was the development of an NAMC website that included the Circle in a Box wiki, contacts for Math Circles throughout North America, the Math Circle Problem Collection, and a forum for discussion of Math Circles and related issues among NAMC members.

Ongoing Bay Area Math Circles

As of 2020, those in Berkeley or the San Francisco Bay Area interested in Math Circle activities can explore the Berkeley Math Circle, the San Francisco Math Circle, the San Jose Math Circle, or the Stanford Math Circle. The Bay Area Math Teachers Circle provides opportunities for educators to explore and share effective problem-solving approaches to teaching mathematics. The emphasis is to show teachers some beautiful and entertaining mathematics as opposed to telling them what or how they should teach.

Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad

bamo logo The Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad (BAMO) is an annual competition among hundreds of Bay Area middle- and high-school students, consisting of five proof-type math problems, which is held in February of each year. An awards ceremony follows at MSRI in March.