The Berkeley Math Circle

Welcome to the Berkeley Math Circle

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

BMCbeg2Editted.jpgEmulating 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.


Berkeley Math Circle for Spring 2017

The Berkeley Math Circle (BMC) for Spring 2017 will start on Tuesday, January 17th.

BMC is divided into two divisions: BMC-Upper (grades 5th - 12th) and BMC-Elementary (grades 1st - 4th).


  • BMC Beginners Level I meets on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 6:20 PM at 344 Evans.
  • BMC Beginners Level II meets on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at 344 Evans.
  • BMC Intermediate Level I meets on Tuesdays from 6:10 to 7:55 PM at 340 Evans.
  • BMC Intermediate Level II meets on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at 740 Evans.
  • BMC Advanced meets on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at 736 Evans.

For questions regarding BMC-Upper, please contact BMC Assistant Harry Main-Luu.


Please visit BMC-Elementary page for information reagarding BMC Elementary I (grades 1 and 2) and BMC Elementary II (grades 3 and 4).

For questions regarding BMC-Elementary, please contact BMC-Elementary director Laura Givental.

Math Taught the Right Way

A new Thursday program through the Berkeley Math Circle

The Thursday "Math Taught the Right Way" program will be based on the newly translated and adapted Bulgarian middle school textbooks, which were just used during the BMC summer 2016 program, and which were piloted at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito for 6th grade this past year, and will be continued for 6th and 7th grades in the upcoming academic year.

Please visit the MTRW page for more info.


BMC Student Laura Pierson USAJMO Winner!


Circler Laura Pierson won the USAJMO in 2015! Laura, then in 10th grade, scored among the top 12 of all USAJMO test takers. Previously, Laura Pierson won a silver medal at the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO). The 2013 EGMO was held at Luxembourg city, where 87 participants from 22 countries participated. A 7th grader at the time, Laura was the youngest member of the USA team. Congratulations!

Laura also actively participates and helps out with the Berkeley Math Circle. Laura gave her first lecture to the Advanced group on September 22, 2015 on the topic “Incompleteness and Provability.” Additionally, Laura is a local grader and one of the coordinators for the BMC Monthly Contests. Thank you Laura!

BMC Alumnus Evan Chen is a gold medalist at the International Math Olympiad!

Update: Evan won a gold medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) over the summer of 2014! He represented the Taiwanese team (which came in 3rd). Evan actually came in second at the USAMO earlier that year, the final round of the USA Olympiad. Evan finished his freshman year of college at Harvard and is now starting his sophomore year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Evan will be in contact with the BMC through his Monthly Contest problems. Congratulations and good luck in college, Evan!

Berkeley Math Circle student Evan Chen, also the coordinator for the Monthly Contest at BMC for the past three years, solved all six problems at USAMO (the last round of the USA Math Olympiad). He was placed #2 in the USA with 41 points and was among the top 3 winners awarded with Akami Foundation Scholarship! Even more astonishingly, he qualified at the same time on the Taiwanese team and participated in the International Mathematical Olympiad this summer in Cape Town, South Africa, from July 3-13 , 2014.


Evan Chen graduated from lrvington High School in Fremont, CA, this year and will attend Harvard College in the fall. Evan earned a Gold medal in the 2013 Asian-Pacific Math Olympiad, and will be participating on the Taiwan team at the 2014 lnternational Mathematical Olympiad (lMO). He enjoys programming, typesetting documents in LaTeX, and playing StarCraft on the nights before major contests. Evan applies his skill as a competitor in mathematical competitions to writing mathematical problems. Evan thanks his teachers, Miss Chiu and Mrs. Rothfuss, for their continual support and Dr. Zvezda Stankova, of the Berkeley Math Circle, for her invaluable mentorship. lt is noteworthy that Evan took this USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) in Taiwan from 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. while in Taiwan.

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!