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)
  • 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.


Application Dates to Watch For:

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

Applications are now CLOSED.

BMC-Upper Summer 2022 Applications will become available by the end of January 2022.
MTRW Fall 2022 Applications should be available in the first week of May 2022.
BMC-Elementary Please click on the link for BMC-Elementary on the left 


MTRW Spring 2022 application now CLOSED

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.



BMC-Upper Spring 2022 application now CLOSED

BMC-Upper Spring 2022 admission has now closed. A few spots remain in our Intermediate II and Advanced group. Candidates must have taken Calculus/other college courses (for Advanced), or Pre-Calculus (for Intermediate II), or have distinguished themselves in some other manner. If this describes your qualifications, please write a short paragraph to our BMC assistant, Ryan Quan, (ryanquan at berkeley dot edu) describing your grade, school, math background/achievements and reason(s) why you would like to attend the BMC Advanced programs. 

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.


BMC-Upper Summer 2022 application information


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 homeworks, 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. 

Program information

  • Projected Program Dates:  June 13 - June 24, 2022 (M-F)
  • Projected Time: 9am - 12noon
  • Projected Mode: Online for certain groups, and in-person for others
  • Expected Application Details and Release Date: by the end of January 2022
  • At this time, we do not have any more information about the BMC-Upper Summer 2022 Program. As usual, do not send BMC/MTRW staff emails regarding the logistics of the program. We will continually update the website with application information as we move forward.


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


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!

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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. 


  • 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!