The Berkeley Math Circle

Welcome to the Berkeley Math Circle

The United Math Circles Foundation is an official umbrella organization for the Berkeley Math Circle.  The United Math Circles Foundation is a non-profit organization.

The Berkeley Math Circle (BMC) is a weekly program for over 500 San Francisco Bay Area elementary, middle and high school students. The weekly sessions are held on Tuesdays evenings at the UC Berkeley campus. The program is jointly sponsored by the: 

  • UC Berkeley Mathematics Department
  • UC Berkeley Economics Department
  • UC Berkeley Statistics Department
  • UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department
  • Mathematical Science and Research Institute (MSRI)
  • Simons Institute for Theory of Computing
  • The Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab (BAIR)
  • Vanguard Charitable, and
  • Parents' Contribution


Emulating famous Eastern European models, the program aims at drawing kids to mathematics, preparing them for mathematical contests, introducing them to the wonders of beautiful mathematical theories, and encouraging them to undertake future careers linked with mathematics, whether as mathematicians, mathematics educators, economists, or business entrepreneurs. Read more about the BMC.



Important note regarding Spring 2020

UC Berkeley has moved all classes online until the end of the semester. The good news is we are going to hold BMC sessions digitally! This will be a process of trial and error, and we thank you all for your patience and dedication to the program. There is the possibility of BMC moving back to campus should the university allow us to use the regular classroom at the end of the semester.

Zoom links will to sent to families in the weekly emails. Please make sure to read the emails and follow any instructions provided very carefully.


Application Dates to Watch For:

BMC Fall 2020 Application portal will open in the first half of April 2020 and will be due April 29.
MTRW Fall 2020 Application portal will open in the first half of June 2020 and will be due immediately.


BMC Summer Program application now LIVE!


    • Beginners and Intermediate I groups for BMC 2020 Summer Program are full and closed. Do NOT sign up for Intermediate II and Advanced group  in hopes of being placed into Beginners or Intermediate I. We will not be able to accept you into Beginners or Intermediate I as there is no more space, and we will NOT accept students to Intermediate II or Advanced group if they don't qualify.
    • Intermediate II and Advanced are almost full at this moment.

    Please refrain from emailing staff with any logistical questions. You may come to office hours with any questions. There is no waitlist or mailing list for the summer program.

    BMC Summer Program

    • Date: June 15- June 26, 2020, Monday-Friday
    • Time: 9:00am-12:00pm
    • Location: UC Berkeley campus (exact rooms to be announced in June)
    • Description: The BMC Summer Program is an intensive two-week math program where students will participate for three hours a day in math sessions and also have daily homework for practice. Enrolling in another summer camp at the same time as the BMC Summer Program is strongly discouraged, as students will NOT have enough time to absorb the material from the three math classes and write their three daily HWs, and hence will lag behind their classmates. Some families did not take this seriously and enrolled their children in afternoon camps or afternoon/evening classes elsewhere, and found out within a couple of days that the child had to drop the other program in order to keep up with the BMC program. The BMC Summer Program is a hybrid between the Berkeley Math Circle and the Math Taught the Right Way programs (in each Beginners, Intermediate I, and Intermediate II group). The Advanced group over the summer will enjoy an intensive Berkeley Math Circle experience. 
    • How to apply: The application link, along with all application information, can be found here. The selection process is based on merit and mathematical maturity, as well as a first-come-first-serve basis. You need to fill in the application and send us a correct check. Until we receive both, the student cannot be considered among the applicants.


    Math Taught the Right Way Spring 2020 Applications are now closed. 

    Please refrain from emailing staff with any logistical questions. There is no waitlist or mailing list.


    BMC Spring 2020 Applications are now closed.

    Please refrain from emailing BMC staff with any logistical questions. There is no waitlist or mailing list.



    Hanna Hantao Chen Achieves at Math Prize for Girls!

    Math Prize for Girls is the world’s largest math prize for young women high school age or younger.  Hanna tied for 16th out of 300 girls, got an Honorable Mention, and was invited to the next round of competition!
    Congratulations, Hanna!

    Screenshot 2019-11-01 at 1.54.18 PM.png


    Harry Main-Luu, previous assistant for MTRW and BMC-Upper, was named one of the 4 UC Berkeley University Medal runners-up! 

    "Every year, the competition for the University Medal – the award given each year to the graduating senior who best embodies the highest ideals of UC Berkeley – is fierce. Candidates for the medal, which was established in 1871, must have overcome significant challenges, had an impact on the lives of others and carry a GPA of 3.96 or higher." 

    Read Harry's profile below:

    Screenshot 2019-08-03 at 11.03.48 AM.png


    Alumnus Evan O'Dorney continues success after BMC!

    Screenshot 2019-08-20 at 8.09.29 AM.png

    He finished the Mathematical Tripos in Cambridge and is now a Ph.D. student at Princeton under Manjul Bhargava. He was called on to write the music for a film advertising the Churchill Scholarship, by which he went to Cambridge. To read more about Evan and his time at the Berkeley Math Circle, visit the Program page


    Congratulations to Justin Lee for being a winner of the 10th United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO)!

    The USAJMO test is given to the top combined scorers on the AMC 10 and AIME. Justin distinguished himself among 300,000 students who also participated in the American Mathematics Competitions.


    Espen Slettnes Wins First Place at 2018 Broadcom MASTERS and Receives Minor Planet named after him!

    Our very own seasoned math circler Espen continues to reap awards.  Among more than 900 winners from regional science fairs in California, he went on to win both the 1st prize in Mathematical Science as well as Project of the Year Award across all categories in the junior division at the 2018 California Science and Engineering Fair.

    In other math-related fields, he received a bronze medal at 2018 USA Physics Olympiad (USAPhO).  He is also competing in the Gold division of the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO), having easily aced the Bronze and Silver divisions last year.

    He has also been accepted as one of 45 pre-college students worldwide to form the inaugural cohort of World Science Scholars, a new initiative to nurture the next generation science researchers, led by Professor Brian Greene of Columbia University.  The scholars will explore a broad range of new disciplines expanded from mathematics. The video above includes footage from MAA MathFest 2018 in Denver earlier this month; near the end, Espen is talking to Dr. Michael Pearson, executive director of MAA. 

    More recently, Espen won first place (out of 80,000 middle school students who competed) at 2018 Broadcom MASTERS! This competition is the premier science and engineering competition for middle school students and is a national science fair organized by The Society for Science and Public. He was also selected out of a gifted, national applicant pool to be named as a Caroline D. Bradley Scholar. He will receive a merit-based scholarship for high school.

    MIT Lincoln Laboratory also just named a minor planet after Espen to recognize his achievements. His name will be added to the Minor Planet Center database (run out of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts). Look out for Minor Planet 34379 Slettnes in the sky!

    Congratulations, Espen!


    DSC_0442 2.jpeg

    Espen at the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS competition in Washington, D.C. 


    Zach and Ave Golden awarded at the World Mathematics Team Championship


    Zach (in black shirt) and Ave (in black cardigan), seasoned circlers, return to BMC with Bronze Award (for Zach) and Merit Award (for Ave), in the individual rounds at the World Mathematics Team Championship, held in Thailand in November 2017. Congratulations to this brother-sister team and thank you for continuing to reinforce the BMC name on the map. Welcome home!


    Vinayak Kumar Earned Gold Medal at the WMTC

    Vinayak returns to the Circle with a gold medal around his neck, placing 5th individually in the Advanced Division at the World Mathematics Team Championships. Congratulations, and welcome home!


    BMC Alumnus Laura Pierson Continues to Reap Awards


    Seasoned circler and alumnus, Laura Pierson, keeps going on her mathematical journey with great success. She placed in the top five at the Math Prize Contest in 2016 among all girls in the U.S., earning herself a gold medal. This year, in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, she has been named the Top 300 Scholar. Her talent also earns her a spot in the top 40 finalists to compete later in the year. We look forward to hearing good news while cheering for her on this journey.

    Bio: Laura is currently a senior in high school and still connected to BMC. She coordinates the Monthly Contest and the awards. She has also given lectures at the Circle. Laura won the USAJMO in 2015 while she was in 10th grade, placing in top 12. In 7th grade, Laura, being the youngest member of the USA team, won a silver medal at the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) in Luxembourg.


    BMC Alumnus Evan Chen Continues His Passion for Math!

    ec (1).jpg

    Evan Chen is a PhD student in math at MIT. He is one of the coaches of the USA IMO team, serving as the assistant academic director at the American summer training program (MOP), the editor-in-chief of the USA national math olympiad (USAMO), and the coordinator for the USA IMO team selection. Evan is also the author of a popular textbook Euclidean Geometry in Math Olympiads used by students preparing for mathematical olympiads. As a high school student, Evan was himself an IMO gold medalist and winner of the 2014 USAMO (which he took from 12:30am to 5am in Taiwan). Outside of math and teaching, Evan enjoys StarCraft and Korean pop dance.


    Espen writes a poem!

    BMC student Espen has written a beautiful poem called "My True Number". We wanted to share as it is quite appropriate for the Berkeley Math Circle! Please do not take out the poem without copyright.

    My True Number
    By Espen Slettnes, Jan 6th, 2014 

    My shadow and I stood in a complex plane. 
    "What value are you?" I winked and asked. 
    "3435i", said he, and he asked me mine. 
    I said I was 33+44+33+55
    "That's what I am, but times i"he replied. 
    Our eyes met and danced 
    as we added and multiplied and exponentiated and tertiated 
    until we reached the magnitude of beauty, 
    in the silence of ∞, where I saw my true self. 
    I spoke no words but the simple language of the universe. 
    I rose and vaporized into numbers, 
    integrated with the Universe, 
    and we became 1. 


    • The complex plane is a way to represent all complex numbers in 2 dimensions. A complex number is made up of a real and imaginary part.
    • i is the imaginary unit, defined as √ -1 
    • Tertiation is repeated exponentiation, which is repeated multiplication, which is repeated addition.
    • ∞ means infinity - larger than any number
    • (33+44+33+55) = 3435 (each digit raised to its own power)

    Copyright © 2014 Espen Slettnes. All rights reserved.


    Berkeley Math Circle featured on "The Monthly"!

    The Berkeley Math Circle has been featured "The Monthly," East Bay's Premier Magazine of Culture and Commerce, titled "Proving Their Passion" by Sarah Weld. Check out the Berkeley Math Circle on the news here!


    Nico Brown of the Berkeley Math Circle wins first place at the Berkeley Mini-Math Tournament!


    Nico Brown wins 1st place at BmMT 2013.
    Nico Brown wins 1st place at BmMT 2013.
    Nico Brown and Vincent Pisani at BmMT 2013.
    Nico Brown and Vincent Pisani at BmMT 2013.

    BMC's own Nico Brown won the Berkeley mini Math Tournament (BmMT). The middle school student variant to the BMT for high school students, this past weekend.

    Nico's score in the Individual round placed him into the top six students who entered the final Countdown elimination round, a series of timed questions... and he emerged the overall champion!

    He wouldn't have got there without Team BMC coached by Intermediate Circle parent Tor Slettnes--Vincent Pisani, Arav Karighattam, Nate Fish, Espen Slettnes, and Nico--so congratulations to all!