Madison Math Circle
Contents
LAST MINUTE LOCATION ANNOUNCEMENT
We are thrilled to announce that, starting on September 28, we have a beautiful new room for our Math Circle: Room 3255 in the Helen C White Library, which is right next to the Memorial Union on the UW Campus. We apologize for the inconvenience that our room changes have caused but we think this will be a great fit.
Weekly Meeting
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 required registration, no fee, and the talks are independent of one another, so you can just show up any week. See below for directions.
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 UWMadison campus, right next to the Memorial Union).
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: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/schoolspotlightmadisonmathcirclegivesyoungstudentsataste/article_77f5c0420b3d11e1ba5f001cc4c03286.html
All right, I want to come!
Directions and parking
Meetings are held in 3255 Helen C. White Hall.
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 UWMadison Parking Info website.
Email list
Sign up for our email list: https://lists.math.wisc.edu/listinfo/mathcircle
Contact the organizers
If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the organizers (Carolyn Abbott, DJ Bruce, Gheorghe Craciun, Daniel Erman, Ryan Julian, and Philip Matchett Wood): mathcircleorganizers@math.wisc.edu. We are always interested in feedback!
Report on Math Circle in 201314
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. Our costs have been covered so far by donations from the UW Math Department plus 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 recordkeeping, 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.
Flyer
Please feel free to distribute our flyer! Flyer
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 2015 and Spring 2016
All talks are at 6pm in Ingraham Hall room 120, unless otherwise noted.
Fall 2015  

Date  Speaker  Topic 
September 14, 2015  David Sondak  How to SEE Sound 
September 21, 2015  Uri Andrews  Guarding Mona Lisa 
September 28, 2015  Eva Elduque  Pick's Theorem 
October 5, 2015  Jessica Lin  The Math of Sudoku 
October 12, 2015  Ryan Julian  Eight Dimensional Oranges 
October 19, 2015  

October 26, 2015  Megan Maguire  Aperiodic tilings: Beyond your parents' bathroom floor 
November 2, 2015  Marko Budisic  Mathematics of GPS satellites 
November 9, 2015  Tess Anderson  Gold Coins and Goats 
November 16, 2015  DJ Bruce  TBA 
November 23, 2015  Tullia Dymarz (Last meeting of fall)  TBA 
Spring 2016  
Date  Speaker  Topic 
February 1, 2016  Will Mitchell  Are these networks the same? 
February 8, 2016  Lalit Jain  TBA 
February 15, 2016  Jordan Ellenberg  TBA 
February 22, 2016  TBA  TBA 
February 29, 2016  TBA  TBA 
March 7, 2016  TBA  TBA 
March 14, 2016  TBA  TBA 
March 21, 2016  No Meeting (Spring Break)  
March 28, 2016  No Meeting (Spring Break)  
April 4, 2016  TBA  TBA 
April 11, 2016  Andrew Kidd  TBA 
April 18, 2016  TBA  TBA 
April 25, 2016  TBA  TBA 
May 2, 2016  TBA  TBA 
High school meetings for Fall 2015
We are experimenting with holding some Math Circle meetings directly at local high schools. Our schedule for the fall is below. If you are interesting in having us come to your high school, please contact us!
Fall 2015  

Date  Location  Speaker  Topic  Link for more info 
September 28, 2015  2:45pm East High  Daniel Erman  How to Catch a (data) thief Abstract  
October 19, 2015  2:45pm East High  Carolyn Abbott  Donuts and Coffee Cups Abstract 
Abstracts
David Sondak
How to SEE Sound
The idea is to give a simple overview of sound waves by introducing sines and cosines and some of their basic anatomy (amplitude and frequency). We will then have a computational component where the students create their own sound waves by fiddling with parameters in the sines and cosines (again, amplitude, frequency and different superpositions of the sines and cosines). They will actually be able to see plots of their waves AND listen to their waves. Finally, if time permits, the students will use their own sound waves to make Oobleck dance. This will bring the exercise full circle in that they will be able to see their very own sound waves in action.
Uri Andrews
Guarding Mona Lisa
You have gotten a tip that a famous art thief is going to steal something from the Louvre. It is your task to organize a security team that can watch all the works of art. The problem is that the Louvre is really big and has a strange layout. Where do you put your guards? And how many do you need?
Eva Elduque
Pick's Theorem
In this talk, we will a very easy formula that allows us to quickly compute the areas of polygons whose vertices are points of a grid, and we will prove that this formula works. (Solutions to the worksheet distributed during the circle can be found File:Pick.pdf.)
Jessica Lin
The Math of Sudoku
Have you ever sat next to someone in the airport or airplane who plays sudoku? Have you ever tried to play yourself? When you play, do you have some strategies that help you to complete the puzzle? It turns out that there is some deep mathematics behind this simple game. Come to math circle this week to learn about it, and maybe you can help the person next to you solve his/her sudoku!
Ryan Julian
The Geometry of Hockeysticks and Eight Dimensional Oranges
Like most people, I've often considered opening an eight dimensional grocery store. Of course, the main difficulty with this plan is that I'd need some way of neatly stacking all of the eight dimensional fruit that I'd be selling. In this talk, we'll explore a variety of elementary counting problems, discover that nearly all elementary counting problems are really the same problem, and we'll apply these new insights to determine how to stack 8 dimensional fruits into neat 8 dimensional pyramids.
Daniel Erman
How to catch a (data) thief
I will discuss some surprising statistical facts that have been used to catch companies that lie about data.
Will Mitchell
Are these networks the same?
The question of deciding whether two things are the same comes up in many different places in math. In this session we'll consider the problem of deciding if two networks or "graphs" are the same. This leads to some entertaining and challenging puzzles. We will also learn a bit about how people try to solve similar problems using computers. This problem has applications in the design of electronic circuits and in searching for organic chemical compounds within large databases.
Carolyn Abbott
Donuts and coffee cups: the topology of surfaces
A classic problem in topology is to decide whether one surfaces can be deformed into another, without creating any holes or connecting any new points (stretching and bending is allowed!). If you can do so, such surfaces are considered 'the same.' We will formalize this notion and classify all closed surfaces, along the way answering such questions as whether a coffee cup is the same as a donut.
Marko Budisic
Mathematics of GPS satellites
GPS is a system of satellites circling the Earth at a height 12,500 miles. That means you could easily fit both Mars and Venus in the distance between your phone and each carsized satellite hovering in space. Once considered science fiction, GPS is now a part of our everyday life: we can use it through our phones, through our car navigation, and even some watches. Simple math equations lie at the heart of this system, and we will write them down, understand what they mean, and figure out how to solve them.
Tess Anderson
Gold Coins and Goats
What do pulling gold coins out of a a hat have to do with the famous Monty Hall "Goat Problem" in which you are a game show contestant trying to pick out the one prize hidden behind one of three doors? Come and find out while savoring some chocolate gold coins. We will also discuss a jailer problem in which an infinite number of jailers try to free an infinite number of prisoners. If time permits, other fun problems will be discussed.
Contact Information Form
Link to Contact Information Form
Archived Math Circle Material
Link for presenters (in progress)
https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Math_Circle_Presentations