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 Wednesday evenings at the UC Berkeley campus. The program is jointly sponsored by the: 

  • UC Berkeley Mathematics Department
  • UC Berkeley Economics Department
  • UC Berkeley HAAS School Of Business
  • 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)
  • CITRIS
  • Vanguard Charitable, and
  • Parents' Contribution

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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.

 

Application Dates to Watch For:

BMC-Upper Spring 2022 Applications now available. Please read below
MTRW Spring 2022 Applications now available. Please read below

MTRW Spring 2022 application now live

Dates for Spring 2022

  • Monday evenings, 5-8 pm Pacific time
  • Start date: Monday, January 17, 2022
  • End date: Monday, May 2, 2022
  • Special notes: classes DO meet on MLK and Presidents' Day.  Classes DO NOT meet on March 21, 2022, due to the UC Berkeley Spring Break.

[CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MTRW.]

 

BMC-Upper Spring 2022 application now live

Program information

  • Program Dates:  January 19 - May 4, 2022
  • Time: Wednesday evenings (exact times for each BMC-Upper group level are listed in the application)

Projected modes for Spring 2022

  • Beginners I-II
    • Most likely mode: Online
    • BAMO and end-of-the semester colloquium talk potentially in-person.
  • Intermediate I-II
    • Potentially in-person (pending suitable rooms) with some sessions being online
  • Advanced
    • Most likely mode: Online
    • BAMO and end-of-the semester colloquium talk potentially in-person.
  • Bay Area Math Olympiad (BAMO)
    • In-person (pending suitable rooms)

The above modes may change as the health situation and logistics change. Upon applying and enrolling for the spring semester, all families should be prepared to be online AND in-person, depending on what the conditions are. For in-person sessions, COVID vaccination proof or 3-day COVID negative testing for every session will be required from all students and adults. If UC Berkeley and/or State/County authorities require masks and other health measures, families must be prepared to satisfy these requirements. 

In-person sessions will NOT be recorded. No refunds will be provided after a student is enrolled in the program for the Spring 2022 semester, regardless of what the mode of sessions is (hybrid, online, or in-person).
Online sessions will be recorded, whenever feasible and agreeable with the instructor, and posted for viewing to BMC families.

Application link

Application for BMC-Upper Spring 2022

The application for BMC-Upper Spring 2022 for both continuing and new applicants will be completed entirely online. A link to an online payment form will be sent to families once your student has been accepted into the BMC-Upper Spring 2022 program. 

  • Continuing BMC-Upper student application due date:  December 1, 2021
  • New BMC-Upper student application due date:  December 8, 2021
  • The fee for BMC-Upper Spring 2022 is $235 (this includes PayPal fee)

Applications submitted after the due date are not guaranteed entry into the program (and most likely, we will have closed enrollment for continuing students by this date). If we admit any continuing student who submitted an application after the deadline, there will be an extra $25 of processing fee for a week after the deadline, and $50 extra afterwards.
 

Early application submissions are preferred. This allows us to begin reviewing applications and to make decisions promptly. Decisions will be made on an on-going first-come-first serve basis for continuing applicants. For new applicants, we will make the decisions after December 8th.
 

We highly recommend that you do NOT submit the form through your phone, as the lack of options on the phone make it hard to properly fill the form, and often we receive multiple applications for the same student if submitted on the phone.

Application information for Continuing students

Continuing students include everyone who is currently enrolled in BMC-Upper Fall 2021: Beginners I, II, Intermediate I, II, and Advanced. For students who would like to apply to move up to a higher BMC-Upper group level, the optional higher group placement application is included in the application link provided above.

Continuing student application due date: December 1, 2021

Application information for New students

New students include any student who is currently enrolled in BMC Elementary or any student who is NOT currently enrolled in BMC-Upper Fall 2021. 

New student application due date: December 8, 2021

The following documents will be required for new students. New applicants will upload these documents to the application link provided above when prompted to do so. Please acquire these additional documents prior to filling out the application form to prevent unsaved question responses and needing to re-complete the application.

  • Letter of recommendation from a math teacher: The letter from the math teacher must address the mathematics knowledge, performance and potential of the students. The letter can be in the form of an email, which can be saved then uploaded. The letter can also be a previous recommendation letter that addresses students' math skills. If such a letter is not available, but the student has won math competitions and/or participated in prestigious math/science programs before, a substitution document addressing such achievements will be considered.
  • The latest school report card must show, among other things, grades in mathematics, in science, and in English (reading/writing), as well as behavior grade/description. If such a report card is not available from the spring semester, the latest fall semester report card may be submitted.

 

MTRW Fall 2021 application now live. Limited spots available

We are no longer accepting applications to MTRW Fall 2021. All groups are completely full.

Program Details:

  • Math Taught The Right Way is a math program of the Berkeley Math Circle for middle and high school students, held for 3 hours 5-8 pm on Mondays throughout the academic year. The program is intellectually demanding, testing and encouraging the mental development of students in a content-rich and challenging environment of algebra, geometry, and problem-solving. The MTRW program  does NOT conform to generic U.S. labels of math classes (e.g., Algebra 1, Algebra 2, etc.). By the end of 9th grade, MTRW will have surpassed the regular U.S. math curriculum by a lot, not just in breadth but more importantly in depth. Learning to "read and write mathematics" is a skill that is emphasized at MTRW as the basis for communicating mathematics.
  • The instructors at MTRW have Ph.D., M.A., or B.A. degrees in math or other related degrees in science and are distinguished teachers at the Berkeley Math Circle, universities and elite middle and high schools.
  • The MTRW program has graded homework every week in each of the three subjects, and there will also be a final exam in each subject. Report cards are generated each semester with % of completed regular and bonus work, as well as statistics of the corresponding classes and a list of top performers and winners in various categories.

Dates for Spring 2021

  • Monday evenings, 5-8 pm Pacific time
  • Start date: Monday, August 30, 2021
  • End date: Monday, December 6, 2021
  • Location: Please Read Below

As of May 2021, we expect that MTRW sessions during Fall 2021 will be held online. Depending on the developing health situation and decisions that UCB campus makes for in-person classes as well as release of rooms for the math circle sessions (if any), we will consider moving some or all MTRW to in-person on the UC Berkeley campus. Given the complex logistics planning, this application offers the following three choices to families:

  • Default Mode:  Hybrid Online/In-Person
This mode will allow for starting sessions online and then later moving to in-person sessions on campus. The move to in-person sessions may happen at the beginning of the semester or anytime during the semester or it may not happen at all and the sessions may stay online for the whole semester; it may happen only for some MTRW groups or for all MTRW groups. Families signing up for this hybrid mode commit to attending online AND in-person sessions of MTRW in Fall 2021, regardless of when a move to in-person sessions may happen for some or all BMC-Upper groups. Keep in mind that, if a move to in-person classes happens for some MTRW groups but not for others, siblings may be split between attending on campus and attending online at the same time. No refunds will be provided to families signing up for hybrid mode, regardless of changed personal circumstances or whether or not and when sessions might move to in-person mode. Families signing up for this Hybrid Mode will be given FIRST PRIORITY in the enrollment process.
  • Alternative Mode 1:  Online only 
Families signing up for this mode commit to attending online sessions of MTRW in Fall 2021. If classes move to in-person mode sometime during the semester, families who have signed up for online mode will receive a small refund after the semester is completed, around mid-December. The refund will be proportionate to the in-person sessions minus a processing/enrollment fee of $75. If such families change their mind later on and decide they could attend in-person sessions, we MAY or MAY NOT be able to accommodate them due to health reasons and restrictions on the classrooms, and hence we may or may NOT allow these students to attend in-person sessions; in addition, and an extra $50 fee will be incurred to process their late applications for In-Person classes. Keep in mind that, if a move to in-person classes happens for some MTRW groups but not for others, siblings may be split between attending on campus and attending online at the same time. Families signing up for this Online Mode Only will be given SECOND PRIORITY in the enrollment process.

Special note: the joint BMC/MTRW final colloquium talk in December may be held in person on campus even if all normal MTRW classes are held online. This decision will be made by the BMC Director.

  • Alternative Mode 2:  In-Person only 
Families signing up for this mode only will be put on a Waitlist and NOT accepted until such a move to in-person classes happens. Only then we will reach out to collect the semester fee, which will be proportionate to the in-person sessions plus a processing/enrollment fee of $75. If a family singing up for In-Person Mode changes their mind and decides they can attend Online classes, we may or may not be able to accommodate them, and an extra $50 fee will be incurred to process their late applications for Online classes. Families signing up for this In-Person Mode Only will be given THIRD PRIORITY in the enrollment process.
Online sessions will be recorded, whenever feasible and agreeable with the instructor, and made available only to  MTRW students who must miss class due to exceptional circumstances. In-person classes will NOT be recorded.
 

BMC-Upper Fall 2021 application now CLOSED

We are no longer accepting applications to BMC Fall 2021. All groups are completely full. 

Program information:
 
  • Program Dates: September 1 - December 8, 2021
  • Joint colloquium for all BMC-Upper groups on December 15 (may be moved to the weekend before or after December 15)
  • Time: Wednesday evenings (exact times for each BMC-Upper group level are listed in the application
  • Location: Please read below

At the moment of posting this application, April 7th, BMC-Upper sessions during Fall 2021 are planned to be held online. Depending on the developing health situation and decisions that UCB campus makes for in-person classes as well as release of rooms for the math circle sessions (if any), we will consider moving some or all BMC-Upper to in-person on campus. Given the complex logistics planning, this application offers the following three choices to families:

  • Default Mode:  Hybrid Online/In-Person
This mode will allow for starting sessions online and then later moving to in-person sessions on campus. The move to in-person sessions may happen at the beginning of the semester or anytime during the semester or it may not happen at all and the sessions may stay online for the whole semester; it may happen only for some BMC-Upper groups or for all BMC-Upper groups. Families signing up for this hybrid mode commit to attending online AND in-person sessions of BMC-Upper in Fall 2021, regardless of when a move to in-person sessions may happen for some or all BMC-Upper groups. Keep in mind that, if a move to in-person classes happens for some BMC-Upper groups but not for others, siblings may be split between attending on campus and attending online at the same time. No refunds will be provided to families signing up for hybrid mode, regardless of changed personal circumstances or whether or not and when sessions might move to in-person mode. Families signing up for this Hybrid Mode will be given FIRST PRIORITY in the enrollment process.
  • Alternative Mode 1:  Online only 
Families signing up for this mode commit to attending online sessions of BMC-Upper in Fall 2021, with one possible exception: the last colloquium talk in December, which may be in-person. If classes move to in-person mode sometime during the semester, families who have signed up for online mode will receive a small refund after the semester is completed, around mid-December. The refund will be proportionate to the in-person sessions minus a processing/enrollment fee of $75. If such families change their mind later on and decide they could attend in-person sessions, we may or may NOT be able to accommodate them due to health reasons and restrictions on the classrooms, and hence we may or may NOT allow these students to attend in-person sessions; in addition, and an extra $50 fee will be incurred to process their late applications for In-Person classes. Keep in mind that, if a move to in-person classes happens for some BMC-Upper groups but not for others, siblings may be split between attending on campus and attending online at the same time. Families signing up for this Online Mode Only will be given SECOND PRIORITY in the enrollment process.
  • Alternative Mode 2:  In-Person only 
Families signing up for this mode only will be put on a Waitlist and NOT accepted until such a move to in-person classes happens. Only then we will reach out to collect the semester fee, which will be proportionate to the in-person sessions plus a processing/enrollment fee of $75. If a family singing for In-Person Mode changes their mind and decides they can attend Online classes, we may or may not be able to accommodate them, and an extra $50 fee will be incurred to process their late applications for Online classes. Families signing up for this In-Person Mode Only will be given THIRD PRIORITY in the enrollment process.
Online sessions will be recorded, whenever feasible and agreeable with the instructor, and posted for viewing to BMC families. In-person classes will NOT be recorded.
 
 

News

Interview with BMC director, Zvezda Stankova, in Berkeley Science Review

If you are interested in learning more about the history and background information of the BMC/MTRW program, we direct you to read a recently published interview in the Berkeley Science Review:
 
by Amanda Glazer, in STEMinism in the Spotlight
Berkeley Science Review

Espen Slettnes publishes paper in Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications!

Check out Espen's paper, "Minimal Embedding Dimensions of Rectangle k-Visibility Graphs," published in 2021's first issue of the Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications!

Espen Slettnes receives honorable at the 2020 United States Online Mathematical Olympiad (USOMO)!

The USAMO test is given to the top combined scorers on the AMC12 and AIME. Our very own math circler, Espen Slettnes, has distinguished himself among the 2020 USOMO participants! 

 

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!

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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:

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Alumnus Evan O'Dorney continues success after BMC!

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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!

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

 

Zach and Ave Golden awarded at the World Mathematics Team Championship

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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

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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!

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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. 

Footnotes: 

  • 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!