Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

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Great Circles 2009 April 16, 2009 - April 17, 2009
Registration Deadline: April 17, 2009 about 14 years ago
To apply for Funding you must register by: January 16, 2009 over 14 years ago
Parent Program: --
Organizers Matthias Beck (San Francisco State University), Amanda Serenevy (Executive Director of the Riverbed Community Math Center), Sam Vandervelde (St. Lawrence University), and Kathy O'Hara (MSRI)

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The workshop schedule can be found here: Workshop Schedule (PDF 120KB) Bibliography (PDF 40KB) Zvezdelina Stankova slides (PDF 3.62MB) This conference will bring together experienced math circle directors and professional mathematicians along with secondary schol teachers and students, with the three-fold goal of inspiring and equipping individuals to begin math circles in their communities, passing along successful math circle presentations and best practices in math circle administration, and renewing and strengthening ties among members of the existing math circle network. Background The purpose of mathematical circles is to cultivate interest and aptitude in math by having mathematicians introduce pre college students and their teachers to the world of mathematics in an engaging and interactive manner. Programs of this type (which were problem- based and focused on students) could already be found in Hungary more than a century ago. They soon spread throughout Eastern Europe and Russia, producing many of the great scientists from the area, in mathematics and other disciplines.More importantly, they have served to introduce bright young minds to mathematical creativity, thus stimulating life-long interest in mathematics and the sciences. These math circles led eventually to the start of many national and international math contests, culminating in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), initiated in Romania in 1959. Countries such as Bulgaria and Romania attribute their unexpectedly strong performance on the IMO to the presence of these circles. Given the success of math circles in Russia and Eastern Europe, it is surprising that it has taken so long for the United States to develop similar programs. In 1994 a math circle was started in Cambridge, MA, and the Berkeley Math Circle began soon after in 1998. These were natural choices, both because of the large number of talented high school students in the area and because of the wealth of mathematical talent and leadership available in local academic institutions and scientific corporations. Their success has increasingly been recognized and replicated in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country. There are over forty active math circles in the United States today in locations as diverse as San Diego, CA; Mobile, AL; Flint, MI; Salt Lake City, UT; St. Louis, MO; and Albany, NY. The organizers have invited participants to share effective topics and presentation strategies from their most successful math circles with the entire group of conference attendees. To this end, six 15-minute time slots were reserved for "Great Circles" talks. The purpose of these sessions is to efficiently share many curriculum ideas for other circle directors to implement at future math circles. Individuals interested in speaking during one of these sessions have now been chosen and should include a brief description of the math circle to be showcased (topic and creative means for engaging students with this topic) and background information (approximate date this math circle was conducted, name/location of circle, and age/level of students). Speakers should plan to prepare a one-page document with a brief overview of their "Great Circle" along with a selection of sample problems. Sponsored by: Accomodations: A block of rooms has been reserved at the Rose Garden Inn. Reservations may be made by calling 1-800-992-9005 OR directly on their website. Click on Corporate at the bottom of the screen and when prompted enter code MATH (this code is not case sensitive). By using this code a new calendar will appear and will show MSRI rate on all room types available. The cut-off date for reservations is April 2, 2009. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hotel Durant. Please mention the workshop name and reference the following code when making reservations via phone, fax or e-mail: 0904GREATC. The cut-off date for reservations is April 2, 2009. Our NEW ROOM RATE $139/ night!
Keywords and Mathematics Subject Classification (MSC)
Primary Mathematics Subject Classification No Primary AMS MSC
Secondary Mathematics Subject Classification No Secondary AMS MSC
Funding & Logistics Show All Collapse

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To apply for funding, you must register by the funding application deadline displayed above.

Students, recent Ph.D.'s, women, and members of underrepresented minorities are particularly encouraged to apply. Funding awards are typically made 6 weeks before the workshop begins. Requests received after the funding deadline are considered only if additional funds become available.

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MSRI does not hire an outside company to make hotel reservations for our workshop participants, or share the names and email addresses of our participants with an outside party. If you are contacted by a business that claims to represent MSRI and offers to book a hotel room for you, it is likely a scam. Please do not accept their services.

MSRI has preferred rates at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, depending on room availability. Guests can call the hotel's main line at 510-845-7300 and ask for the MSRI- Mathematical Science Research Institute discount. To book online visit this page (the MSRI rate will automatically be applied).

MSRI has preferred rates at the Graduate Berkeley, depending on room availability. Reservations may be made by calling 510-845-8981. When making reservations, guests must request the MSRI preferred rate. Enter in the Promo Code MSRI123 (this code is not case sensitive).

MSRI has preferred rates at the Berkeley Lab Guest House, depending on room availability. Reservations may be made by calling 510-495-8000 or directly on their website. Select "Affiliated with the Space Sciences Lab, Lawrence Hall of Science or MSRI." When prompted for your UC Contact/Host, please list Chris Marshall (coord@msri.org).

MSRI has a preferred rates at Easton Hall and Gibbs Hall, depending on room availability. Guests can call the Reservations line at 510-204-0732 and ask for the MSRI- Mathematical Science Research Inst. rate. To book online visit this page, select "Request a Reservation" choose the dates you would like to stay and enter the code MSRI (this code is not case sensitive).

Additional lodging options may be found on our short term housing page.

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Schedule, Notes/Handouts & Videos
Show Schedule, Notes/Handouts & Videos
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Apr 16, 2009
08:40 AM - 09:30 AM
  What is a Math Circle?
Mark Saul (The Center for Mathematical Talent)
09:30 AM - 10:45 AM
  Collegial Math Circles: A Demonstration and Discussion
Bob Kaplan
11:15 AM - 12:05 PM
  Great Circles I
Anna Burago, Mary OKeeffe, Harold Reiter
02:10 PM - 03:00 PM
  "A Decade of the Berkeley Math Circle - the American Experience. What have we learned?"
Zvezdelina Stankova (Mills College)
03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
  Mathematical Battle
Samuel Vandervelde (St. Lawrence University)
Apr 17, 2009
08:30 AM - 09:20 AM
  Gender, Culture, and Math
Janet Mertz
09:20 AM - 10:30 AM
  "Collegial Math Circles: A Demonstration and Discussion."
Ellen Kaplan
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
  Great Circles II
Thomas Davis, Alex McFerron
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
  Great Circles I
Julia Brodsky
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
  Great Circles II
Julia Brodsky
01:45 PM - 02:35 PM
  Implicit Attitudes andStereotypes matter in Math and Science
Fred Smyth