Difference between revisions of "Madison Math Circle"

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=What is it?=
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[[Image:logo.png|right|600px]]
The UW-Madison math department organizes a series of talks aimed at interested middle school and high school students throughout the semester. Our goal is to present fun talks that give students a taste of interesting ideas in math and science. In the past we've had talks about plasma and weather in outer space, the way images are shaded in video games, and how credit card numbers are securely transmitted over the internet.  
 
  
For more information about Math Circles see http://www.mathcircles.org/
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For the site in Spanish, visit [[Math Circle de Madison]]
 +
=COVID-19 Update=
 +
UW-Madison is canceling all major events and moving to “virtual instruction” for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. The Madison Math Circle will also be canceling all in-person Math Circle meetings for the remainder of this semester.
  
After each talk we'll have snacks 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.
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'''We will have a few virtual Math Circle meetings on Monday, April 6, April 13, and April 20 at 4-4:45pm. Please join our email list (send a blank email to join-mathcircle@lists.wisc.edu) to receive updates about these virtual meetings and links to join us each week! We plan to send out a video about an interesting math topic to watch and think about beforehand and will answer questions and discuss the video during the meeting.'''
  
'''The Madison Math circle was recently featured in Wisconsin State Journal:''' http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/school-spotlight-madison-math-circle-gives-young-students-a-taste/article_77f5c042-0b3d-11e1-ba5f-001cc4c03286.html
+
=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.
  
=Alright, I want to come!=
+
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.
Great! 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 (and tell us how many people are coming so we can purchase the appropriate amount of pizza!)
+
  
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 Van Vleck Hall room B231, on the UW-Madison campus).  
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[[Image: MathCircle_2.jpg|550px]] [[Image: MathCircle_4.jpg|550px]]
'''We'd also appreciate if you click the "Register" link for the date that your group will be attending.'''
 
  
'''Parking''' on campus is free at most (but not all) outdoor parking lots after 4:30pm. Parking lots #25 (Elizabeth Waters) and #26 (Observatory Hill) may be the most convenient. These parking lots are on Observatory Drive just west of the intersection with Charter Street. If you park there, then walk east along Observatory Drive to the top of Bascom Hill, then turn right to Van Vleck Hall. See also the map at http://www.map.wisc.edu/?keyword=public%20parking
 
  
=Questions?=
+
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.
If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the '''organizers''' (Ed Dewey, David Dynerman, Nathan Clement, Lalit Jain, Kevin Zamzow, Betsy Stovall, and Philip Matchett Wood): [mailto:math-circle@math.wisc.edu math-circle@math.wisc.edu].
 
  
==Talks this semester, Spring 2013==
+
'''The Madison Math circle was featured in Wisconsin State Journal:''' [http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/school-spotlight-madison-math-circle-gives-young-students-a-taste/article_77f5c042-0b3d-11e1-ba5f-001cc4c03286.html check it out]!
More details about each talk to follow soon. All talks are at '''6pm in Van Vleck Hall, room B231''', unless otherwise noted.
 
  
 +
=All right, I want to come!=
 +
 +
We have a weekly meeting, <b>Monday at 6pm in 3255 Helen C White Library</b>, during the school year.  <b>New students are welcome at any point! </b> 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:
 +
 +
[https://uwmadison.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e9WdAs2SXNurWFD '''Math Circle Registration Form''']
 +
 +
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.
 +
 +
<div class="center" style="width:auto; margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto;">
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[[File: Helencwhitemap.png|400px]]</div>
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 +
'''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 [http://goo.gl/cxTzJY these directions], many spots ('''free starting 4:30pm''') [http://goo.gl/maps/Gkx1C in Lot 26 along Observatory Drive].
 +
*A 0.3 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/yMJIRd these directions], many spots ('''free starting 4:30pm''') [http://goo.gl/maps/vs17X in Lot 34]. 
 +
*A 0.3 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/yMJIRd these directions], 2 metered spots (25 minute max) [http://goo.gl/maps/ukTcu in front of Lathrop Hall].
 +
*A 0.2 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/b8pdk2 these directions] 6 metered spots (25 minute max) around [http://goo.gl/maps/6EAnc the loop in front of Chadbourne Hall] .
 +
*For more information, see the [http://transportation.wisc.edu/parking/parking.aspx UW-Madison Parking Info website].
 +
 +
==Email list==
 +
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 join-mathcircle@lists.wisc.edu
 +
 +
==Contact the organizers==
 +
The Madison Math Circle is organized by a group of professors and graduate students from the [http://www.math.wisc.edu Department of Mathematics] at the UW-Madison. If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the '''organizers''' [mailto:cbooms@wisc.edu here]. We are always interested in feedback!
 
<center>
 
<center>
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<gallery widths=500px heights=300px mode="packed">
 +
File:de.jpg|[https://www.math.wisc.edu/~derman/ Prof. Daniel Erman]
 +
<!--File:Betsy.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~stovall/ Prof. Betsy Stovall]-->
 +
</gallery>
  
 +
<gallery widths=500px heights=250px mode="packed">
 +
<!--File:juliettebruce.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~juliettebruce/ Juliette Bruce] File:Ee.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~evaelduque/ Eva Elduque] File:mrjulian.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~mrjulian/ Ryan Julian] File:soumyasankar.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~soumyasankar Soumya Sankar]-->
 +
File:caitlynbooms.jpg|[https://sites.google.com/wisc.edu/cbooms Caitlyn Booms]
 +
File:colincrowley.jpg|[https://sites.google.com/view/colincrowley/home Colin Crowley]
 +
File:hyunjongkim.jpg|Hyun Jong Kim
 +
File:Xshen.jpg|[https://www.math.wisc.edu/~xshen// Xiao Shen]
 +
File:connorsimpson.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~csimpson6/ Connor Simpson]
 +
</gallery>
 +
</center>
 +
 +
==Donations==
 +
Please consider donating to the Madison Math Circle. As noted in our [https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/images/Math_Circle_Newsletter.pdf 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:
 +
 +
[http://www.math.wisc.edu/donate Online Donation Link]
 +
 +
There are instructions on that page for donating to the Math Department.  <b> Be sure and add a Gift Note saying that the donation is intended for the "Madison Math Circle"!</b>  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:
 +
* Like our [https://facebook.com/madisonmathcircle '''Facebook Page'''] and share our events with others!
 +
* Posting our [https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/images/Math_Circle_Flyer_2020.pdf '''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 2019=
 +
 +
<center>
 +
 +
Talks start at '''6pm in room 3255 of Helen C. White Library''', unless otherwise noted.
 +
 +
</center>
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<center>
  
 
{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 
{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 
|-
 
|-
! Date and RSVP links!! Speaker !! Topic (click for more info)
+
! colspan="3" style="background: #e8b2b2;" align="center" | Fall 2019
 
|-
 
|-
| February 4, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGZ0SU9ydkdITDd2MFE5c3BlcHVES2c6MQ#gid=0 Register!] || Jonathan Kane || [[#Infinitely Often | Infinitely Often]]
+
! Date !! Speaker !! Topic
 
|-
 
|-
| February 11, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEo4eHJxY0NfdWpMZGZtQjU5Wmt1Rnc6MA#gid=0 Register!] || Jean-Luc Thiffeault || [[#Making taffy with the Golden mean | Making taffy with the Golden mean]]
+
| September 23, 2019 || Soumya Sankar || Why don't map makers like high heels?
 
|-
 
|-
| February 18, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEZUcmcta3NaZlk1eGZhZDRCNXMzVmc6MA#gid=0 Register!] || Alison Gordon || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| September 30, 2019 || Erika Pirnes || Why do ice hockey players fall in love with mathematicians?
 
|-
 
|-
| February 25, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDBTRXlTcTVpRlJfdEVlZ2t0dk1nLXc6MA#gid=0 Register!] || Mimansa Vahia || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| October 7, 2019 || Uri Andrews || Self-reference, proofs, and computer programming
 
|-
 
|-
| March 4, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG1LR2NoeElhVktzSjRudXltX3ZjeWc6MA#gid=0 Register!] || TBA || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| October 14, 2019 || James Hanson || When is a puzzle impossible?
 
|-
 
|-
| March 11, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDhtZDFrT3hZbXpkcEt3TXYzVl9sVHc6MA#gid=0 Register!] || Greg Shinault || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| October 21, 2019 || Owen Goff || Symbolic Logic and How It's Really Just Arithmetic
 
|-
 
|-
| March 18, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGI0NjBrTkpkcElUQzU2TWVmT29zOEE6MA#gid=0 Register!] || TBA || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| October 28, 2019 || Ian Seong || Counting, but Not Like Kindergarteners
 
|-
 
|-
| March 25, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHZwbnZoM2xPUF90YmNfVXg3TkJzWkE6MA#gid=0 Register!] || Spring Break || No Meeting
+
| November 4, 2019 || Omer Mermelstein || Ciphers: To Gibberish and Back Again
 
|-
 
|-
| April 1, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHpScXdyQ2RtUUtOY3BVeE9QSVBHTlE6MA#gid=0 Register!] || Uri Andrews || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| November 11, 2019 || Colin Crowley || Many Pennies
 
|-
 
|-
| April 8, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE1LWUZXT2JuVVkzZ3FNa2xUMWJKSHc6MA#gid=0 Register!] || TBA || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
| November 18, 2019 || Daniel Corey || The K<span>&#246;</span>nigsberg Bridge Problem
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
</center>
 +
 
 +
=Meetings for Spring 2020=
 +
 
 +
<center>
 +
 
 +
Talks start at '''6pm in room 3255 of Helen C. White Library''', unless otherwise noted.
 +
 
 +
</center>
 +
 
 +
<center>
 +
 
 +
{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 
|-
 
|-
| April 15, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDdQcnE0aGdPQm94RGlUeTZFOWtJSVE6MA#gid=0 Register!] || TBA || [[#TBA | TBA]]
+
! colspan="3" style="background: #e8b2b2;" align="center" | Spring 2020
 
|-
 
|-
| April 22, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV6TlItZXZMMGg0YkdPZVE1TVl5U1E6MA#gid=0 Register!] || TBA || [[#TBA | TBA]]  
+
! Date !! Speaker !! Topic
 +
|-
 +
| January 27, 2020 || Caitlyn Booms || [https://www.facebook.com/events/994454747606234/ Magic or Math?]
 +
|-
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| February 3, 2020 || Erika Pirnes || [https://www.facebook.com/events/173248473949771/ Finding Your Roots]
 +
|-
 +
| February 10, 2020 || Xiao Shen || [https://www.facebook.com/events/1536925486465083/ Constructing the 17-gon]
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|-
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| February 17, 2020 || Ben Bruce || [https://www.facebook.com/events/633574783873887/ 1+1=2 and Other Integer Partitions]
 +
|-
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| February 24, 2020 || Brandon Boggess || [https://www.facebook.com/events/425841464850965/ Pi-ck Up Sticks]
 +
|-
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| March 2, 2020 || Solly Parenti || [https://www.facebook.com/events/1042467939485675/ Lazy Math]
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|-
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| March 9, 2020 || Connor Simpson || [https://www.facebook.com/events/1068696736816566/ Counting Ways to Color Graphs]
 +
|-
 +
| March 23, 2020 || Tejasi Bhatnagar || <font color="red">Canceled</font>
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|-
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| March 30, 2020 || Yunxuan Li || <font color="red">Canceled</font>
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|-
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| April 6, 2020 '''at 4pm''' || Daniel Erman || Virtual: Josephus Problem and Intro to Research Mathematics
 +
|-
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| April 13, 2020 '''at 4pm''' || Caitlyn Booms || [https://www.facebook.com/events/231654831283623/ Virtual: To Infinity and Beyond]
 +
|-
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| April 20, 2020 '''at 4pm''' || Juliette Bruce || [https://www.facebook.com/events/246037009921568/ Virtual: Finding the Fastest Slide]
 
|-
 
|-
| April 29, 2013 [https://docs.google.com/a/wisc.edu/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHpaQlFrYnE4TVRZS0tkWG5ONzRYbVE6MA#gid=0 Register!] || TBA || [[#TBA | TBA]]
 
 
|}
 
|}
  
 
</center>
 
</center>
  
===Infinitely Often===
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=Off-Site Meetings=
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We will hold some Math Circle meetings at local high schools on early release days.  If you are interesting in having us come to your high school, please contact us!
 +
 
 +
<center>
 +
 
 +
{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 +
|-
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! colspan="5" style="background: #e8b2b2;" align="center" | Fall 2019
 +
|-
 +
|-
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! Date !! Location !! Speaker !! Title !! Abstract
 +
|-
 +
| October 7, 2019 || 2:45pm East High || Solly Parenti || Tangled Up in Two || Every tangled cord you have ever encountered is secretly a number.  Once you learn how to count these cords, cleaning your room will be as easy as 1-2-3.
 +
|-
 +
| November 4, 2019 || 2:45pm James Madison Memorial || Caitlyn Booms || Sneaky Segments || We call a line segment drawn between two lattice points in the coordinate plane sneaky if it does not pass through any other lattice points. During this presentation, we will try to understand exactly when this happens, and we'll discuss how to calculate the probability that two randomly chosen lattice points are connected by a sneaky segment.
 +
|-
 +
| November 11, 2019 || 2:45pm East High || Maya Banks || Tic-Tac-Topology || Tic-Tac-Toe is a game usually played on a flat piece of paper. In this standard setting, there is winning strategy--that is, if the player who goes first chooses their moves correctly, they will never lose. But we can also play Tic-Tac-Toe on a surface that isn't lying flat in a plane! In this talk, we will explore the game of Tic-Tac-Toe on cylinders, donuts, and even some wilder surfaces. We'll look for optimal strategies, and learn some topology in the process.
 +
|-
 +
| December 16, 2019 || 2:45pm James Madison Memorial || Daniel Erman || Really Big Numbers || We will discuss the role that really really, really big numbers play in modern mathematics and in science. This will be a discussion of estimation and an introduction to some of the ways that mathematicians express unfathomably big numbers.
 +
|}
 +
 
  
<span style="background:#00FF00">February 4th, 2013, '''6pm''', Van Vleck Hall room B231, UW-Madison campus</span>
 
  
''' Infinitely Often'''
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{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="5" style="background: #e8b2b2;" align="center" | Spring 2020
 +
|-
 +
|-
 +
! Date !! Location !! Speaker !! Title !! Abstract
 +
|-
 +
| February 17, 2020 || 2:45pm James Madison Memorial || Maya Banks || Tic-Tac-Topology || Tic-Tac-Toe is a game usually played on a flat piece of paper. In this standard setting, there is winning strategy--that is, if the player who goes first chooses their moves correctly, they will never lose. But we can also play Tic-Tac-Toe on a surface that isn't lying flat in a plane! In this talk, we will explore the game of Tic-Tac-Toe on cylinders, donuts, and even some wilder surfaces. We'll look for optimal strategies, and learn some topology in the process.
 +
|-
 +
| March 9, 2020 || 2:45pm East High || Michel Alexis || Kakeya Needle Sets || Take a 1-inch needle. A shape in the plane (i.e. a shape you can draw on a piece of paper) is called Kakeya if we can place the needle within the shape, and by only rotating and shifting the needle within the shape (no lifting!) we can get the needle to point in all directions. We will think about what sort of shapes are and aren't Kakeya, how this affects their geometry, and how small these shapes can be.
 +
|-
 +
| April 13, 2020 || 2:45pm James Madison Memorial || Juliette Bruce || <font color="red">Canceled</font> || TBD
 +
|-
 +
| April 20, 2020 || 2:45pm East High || Omer Mermelstein || <font color="red">Canceled</font> || TBD
 +
|}
 +
</center>
  
So you think you can add two numbers, three number, even a lot of numbers together? Well, can you add an infinite number of numbers together?
+
=Useful Resources=
See how thinking about infinite processes can be used to add infinite sums, evaluate repeating decimals, understand infinite continued fractions, and calculate areas and volumes. Also see what strange things can go wrong when dealing with infinity.
+
==Annual Reports==
 +
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/images/Math_Circle_Newsletter.pdf  2013-2014 Annual Report]
  
===Making taffy with the Golden mean===
+
== Archived Abstracts ==
  
<span style="background:#00FF00">February 11th, 2013, '''6pm''', Van Vleck Hall room B231, UW-Madison campus</span>
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_2016-2017 2016 - 2017 Math Circle Page]
  
''' Making taffy with the Golden mean'''
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_Abstracts_2016-2017 2016 - 2017 Abstracts]
  
Taffy pullers are devices used to make candy or bread. They are very
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_2015-2016 2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page]
interesting mathematically: we can relate the number of folds of dough
 
to some famous mathematical sequences.  Some surprising numbers pop
 
up, like the Golden mean but also its lesser-known cousins. We can
 
use this knowledge to improve existing devices. (Warning: no actual
 
taffy will be made. Sorry.)
 
  
=== TBA ===
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Math_Circle_de_Madison_2015-2016 2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page (Spanish)]
  
'''To Be Announced:'''
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_Abstracts_2015-2016 2015 - 2015 Abstracts]
Keep an eye out---we'll have more information soon!
 
  
==[[Archived Math Circle Material]]==
 
 
[[Archived Math Circle Material]]
 
[[Archived Math Circle Material]]
 +
 +
==Link for presenters (in progress)==
 +
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Math_Circle_Presentations  Advice For Math Circle Presenters]
 +
 +
[http://www.geometer.org/mathcircles/ Sample Talk Ideas/Problems from Tom Davis]
 +
 +
[https://www.mathcircles.org/activities Sample Talks from the National Association of Math Circles]
 +
 +
[https://epdf.pub/circle-in-a-box715623b97664e247f2118ddf7bec4bfa35437.html "Circle in a Box"]

Latest revision as of 10:11, 20 April 2020

Logo.png

For the site in Spanish, visit Math Circle de Madison

COVID-19 Update

UW-Madison is canceling all major events and moving to “virtual instruction” for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. The Madison Math Circle will also be canceling all in-person Math Circle meetings for the remainder of this semester.

We will have a few virtual Math Circle meetings on Monday, April 6, April 13, and April 20 at 4-4:45pm. Please join our email list (send a blank email to join-mathcircle@lists.wisc.edu) to receive updates about these virtual meetings and links to join us each week! We plan to send out a video about an interesting math topic to watch and think about beforehand and will answer questions and discuss the video during the meeting.

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.


MathCircle 2.jpg MathCircle 4.jpg


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:

Math Circle Registration Form

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.

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Parking. Parking on campus is rather limited. Here is as list of some options:

Email list

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 join-mathcircle@lists.wisc.edu

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!

Donations

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:

Online Donation 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:

  • Like our Facebook Page and share our events with others!
  • 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 2019

Talks start at 6pm in room 3255 of Helen C. White Library, unless otherwise noted.

Fall 2019
Date Speaker Topic
September 23, 2019 Soumya Sankar Why don't map makers like high heels?
September 30, 2019 Erika Pirnes Why do ice hockey players fall in love with mathematicians?
October 7, 2019 Uri Andrews Self-reference, proofs, and computer programming
October 14, 2019 James Hanson When is a puzzle impossible?
October 21, 2019 Owen Goff Symbolic Logic and How It's Really Just Arithmetic
October 28, 2019 Ian Seong Counting, but Not Like Kindergarteners
November 4, 2019 Omer Mermelstein Ciphers: To Gibberish and Back Again
November 11, 2019 Colin Crowley Many Pennies
November 18, 2019 Daniel Corey The Königsberg Bridge Problem

Meetings for Spring 2020

Talks start at 6pm in room 3255 of Helen C. White Library, unless otherwise noted.

Spring 2020
Date Speaker Topic
January 27, 2020 Caitlyn Booms Magic or Math?
February 3, 2020 Erika Pirnes Finding Your Roots
February 10, 2020 Xiao Shen Constructing the 17-gon
February 17, 2020 Ben Bruce 1+1=2 and Other Integer Partitions
February 24, 2020 Brandon Boggess Pi-ck Up Sticks
March 2, 2020 Solly Parenti Lazy Math
March 9, 2020 Connor Simpson Counting Ways to Color Graphs
March 23, 2020 Tejasi Bhatnagar Canceled
March 30, 2020 Yunxuan Li Canceled
April 6, 2020 at 4pm Daniel Erman Virtual: Josephus Problem and Intro to Research Mathematics
April 13, 2020 at 4pm Caitlyn Booms Virtual: To Infinity and Beyond
April 20, 2020 at 4pm Juliette Bruce Virtual: Finding the Fastest Slide

Off-Site Meetings

We will hold some Math Circle meetings at local high schools on early release days. If you are interesting in having us come to your high school, please contact us!

Fall 2019
Date Location Speaker Title Abstract
October 7, 2019 2:45pm East High Solly Parenti Tangled Up in Two Every tangled cord you have ever encountered is secretly a number. Once you learn how to count these cords, cleaning your room will be as easy as 1-2-3.
November 4, 2019 2:45pm James Madison Memorial Caitlyn Booms Sneaky Segments We call a line segment drawn between two lattice points in the coordinate plane sneaky if it does not pass through any other lattice points. During this presentation, we will try to understand exactly when this happens, and we'll discuss how to calculate the probability that two randomly chosen lattice points are connected by a sneaky segment.
November 11, 2019 2:45pm East High Maya Banks Tic-Tac-Topology Tic-Tac-Toe is a game usually played on a flat piece of paper. In this standard setting, there is winning strategy--that is, if the player who goes first chooses their moves correctly, they will never lose. But we can also play Tic-Tac-Toe on a surface that isn't lying flat in a plane! In this talk, we will explore the game of Tic-Tac-Toe on cylinders, donuts, and even some wilder surfaces. We'll look for optimal strategies, and learn some topology in the process.
December 16, 2019 2:45pm James Madison Memorial Daniel Erman Really Big Numbers We will discuss the role that really really, really big numbers play in modern mathematics and in science. This will be a discussion of estimation and an introduction to some of the ways that mathematicians express unfathomably big numbers.


Spring 2020
Date Location Speaker Title Abstract
February 17, 2020 2:45pm James Madison Memorial Maya Banks Tic-Tac-Topology Tic-Tac-Toe is a game usually played on a flat piece of paper. In this standard setting, there is winning strategy--that is, if the player who goes first chooses their moves correctly, they will never lose. But we can also play Tic-Tac-Toe on a surface that isn't lying flat in a plane! In this talk, we will explore the game of Tic-Tac-Toe on cylinders, donuts, and even some wilder surfaces. We'll look for optimal strategies, and learn some topology in the process.
March 9, 2020 2:45pm East High Michel Alexis Kakeya Needle Sets Take a 1-inch needle. A shape in the plane (i.e. a shape you can draw on a piece of paper) is called Kakeya if we can place the needle within the shape, and by only rotating and shifting the needle within the shape (no lifting!) we can get the needle to point in all directions. We will think about what sort of shapes are and aren't Kakeya, how this affects their geometry, and how small these shapes can be.
April 13, 2020 2:45pm James Madison Memorial Juliette Bruce Canceled TBD
April 20, 2020 2:45pm East High Omer Mermelstein Canceled TBD

Useful Resources

Annual Reports

2013-2014 Annual Report

Archived Abstracts

2016 - 2017 Math Circle Page

2016 - 2017 Abstracts

2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page

2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page (Spanish)

2015 - 2015 Abstracts

Archived Math Circle Material

Link for presenters (in progress)

Advice For Math Circle Presenters

Sample Talk Ideas/Problems from Tom Davis

Sample Talks from the National Association of Math Circles

"Circle in a Box"