2017 Festival News
Read on for the latest news from the 2017 National Math Festival. You can find information on 2017 Festival presenters and program collaborators, upcoming events, and more by signing up for our enewsletter! For uptotheminute announcements, visit the Festival on social media or follow the #NMF2017 hashtag!
Featured Posts

09/18/16
2017 Festival: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes NASA to the 2017 National Math Festival!
The vision of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. It is the national governmental agency dedicated to the exploration of Earth, the solar system, and space flight.
Dynamic Planet
NASA’s Dynamic Planet is a 32inch spherical display system that puts a spin on science. This illuminated visualization platform provides a unique and vibrant global perspective of Earth, our sun, various planetary bodies in our solar system, and the universe to increase and improve scientific understanding. The touchscreen interface allows users to navigate hundreds of datasets, each with their own descriptive storytelling text. We promise you’ll have an outofthisworld experience!
What Color is the Ocean?
The color of an object is actually the color of the light reflected while all other colors are absorbed. In this activity, you will use an inexpensive, simple spectrophotometer to test how light at different visible wavelengths (blue, green, red) is transmitted, or absorbed, through four different colored water samples.
Ultraviolet Bead Bracelets
You can’t see it, but you are being bathed in ultraviolet (UV) radiation right now—and these beads, which are sensitive to UV radiation, can prove it. The UV radiation we are exposed to on Earth’s surface is—in small quantities—not harmful to us. We can thank Earth’s ozone layer for this defense. In this activity you’ll learn the math behind Earth’s ozone layer and the sun’s UV radiation. We invite you to become a UV detective by making your very own UVdetection bracelet using specially designed UVsensitive beads.
2017 Festival: Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the Association for Women in Mathematics to the 2017 National Math Festival!
The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) encourages women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and promotes equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences. AWM has more than 3,000 members (women and men) representing a broad spectrum of the mathematical community — from the United States and around the world!
Conway’s Game of Life: Simulate the Universe
The Game of Life is a cellular automaton—a certain type of mathematical object that replicates itself—devised by John H. Conway in 1970. The game has four simple and natural rules, yet these rules can produce highly complex objects.
In a kind of analogy with our own universe, this simple simulation game makes it possible to imagine that, with a few basic laws of physics, our universe can create vast and intricate features, perhaps even intelligent life.
Welcoming two new Math Allies: NAM and SACNAS
The National Math Festival welcomes two new allies to the 2017 Festival: SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) and the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) join four other leading math organizations in the United States to help promote the National Math Festival’s mission to celebrate and share the joy of math with people of all ages. (Learn more about the math organizations supporting the 2017 Festival)
2017 Festival: The George Washington University, Department of Mathematics
The George Washington University, Department of Mathematics
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the George Washington University Department of Mathematics to the 2017 National Math Festival!
The George Washington University is a community in the heart of the nation’s capital that is committed to taking on new challenges and identifying opportunities to make a lasting contribution locally and globally. Our Mathematics Department has a strong research program with a high level of productivity and an international reputation. We provide our graduate and undergraduate students with a supportive environment that allows them to reach their goals and thrive.
Geometric Balloon Bending
What better way to celebrate math than with geometric balloon sculptures? Not a cubeist? Perhaps you’d prefer to wear a tetrahedron hat instead. (Rainbow colors strictly optional, of course.)
2017 Festival: National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the National Museum of Mathematics to the 2017 National Math Festival!
The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) allows adults and children alike to experience the evolving, creative, aesthetic, and often surprising nature of mathematics. Located in the heart of Manhattan, the Museum is home to more than three dozen handson, engaging exhibits that showcase the fascinating world of mathematics. MoMath has also designed and implemented hundreds of innovative programs around the country including interactive presentations, math tournaments, camp programs, book discussions, movie nights, math tours, storytelling sessions, nights of comedy, mathematical concerts, and a wide variety of public outreach events.
Wonderful Math with MoMath!
Join the National Museum of Mathematics for a day of interactive fun! Slice shapes with lasers, explore giant mazes, crank up the math tunes, design a roller coaster, and more… Enjoy these and other Math Midway classics plus, new this year, experience the surprising shapes of math with Formula Morph and jump into an exciting race of mathematical and visual perception with TetraTruchet.
2017 Festival: Math For Love
Math For Love
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Math for Love to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Math for Love transforms how math is taught and learned by bringing workshops for teachers and students into K12 schools to inspire a playful, artistic approach to mathematics. The founder of Math for Love, Dr. Dan Finkel is also the cocreator of the math games Prime Climb and Tiny Polka Dot. His TEDx Talk, Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching, is available online.
Billiard Balls and Laser Beams! Celebration of Mind
Imagine a room made entirely of mirrors. Is it possible that a light bulb could turn on and somehow leave part of the room in shadow? Through handson modeling activities, we will explore the surprising and delightful geometry of reflections, and see how geometrical insights can allow us to control the ricocheting of billiard balls on a table, and the pathways of lasers off mirrors, straight and curved.
2017 Festival: MathPickle
MathPickle
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes MathPickle to the 2017 National Math Festival!
MathPickle’s primary objective is to get 13 curricular unsolved problems into classrooms worldwide—one for each grade from K12. A conference in November 2013 established the 13 unsolved problems. To aid with the dissemination of these awesome problems, MathPickle is looking at setting up a $1,000,000 reward — the prize money to be split between the person who solves the problem and their most inspirational K12 educator.
Dr. Gordon Hamilton is a board game and puzzle designer. He founded MathPickle in 2010 to inject new ideas into the classroom. There is nothing he enjoys more than stumping students and having them stump him. Gordon is the designer of the board game Santorini, which launched April 2016 with the largest ever Kickstarter for a strategy game.
2017 Festival: Ithaca College, Department of Mathematics
Ithaca College, Department of Mathematics
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the Ithaca College Department of Mathematics to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Ithaca College, a comprehensive residential campus community of 7,000 students in the Finger Lakes region of New York, offers a learning experience that combines the best of the liberal arts and professional education. The Department of Mathematics provides flexible degree options focusing on close studentfaculty interaction and highlighted by a successful undergraduate research program.
Geometric Balloon Bending
What better way to celebrate math than with geometric balloon sculptures? Not a cubeist? Perhaps you’d prefer to wear a tetrahedron hat instead. (Rainbow colors strictly optional, of course.)
2017 Festival: Janel Thomas, NASA/NOAA and Science Cheerleader
Janel Thomas, NASA/NOAA and Science Cheerleader
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Janel Thomas to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Janel Thomas works for both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a Training and User Liaison for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite RSeries (GOESR) Product Readiness Operations Team. She has also been a member of Science Cheerleader for four years after cheering for the St. Louis University Billikens. Janel studied meterology as an undergraduate, and she has a master’s degree in geography and environmental systems.
2, 4, 6, 8 = Science!
Have you ever thought about physics and engineering principles when watching a cheerleading squad build a pyramid or toss a girl into the air? Understanding the science, technology, engineering, and math inherent in cheerleading gives a new perspective and understanding of cheerleading (and lots of other forces in the world too). Highlights from The Science of Cheerleading, a book created by Darlene Cavalier, founder of Science Cheerleader, will be shared showcasing how science and engineering can be a part of nearly every aspect of our lives; sharing a message of encouragement to follow dreams and challenge stereotypes along with the practicality of scientific pursuits and concepts.
2017 Festival: Travis Sperry, Math Plus Academy
Travis Sperry, Math Plus Academy
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Travis Sperry to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Travis Sperry is the Director of Information Technology for Math Plus Academy, where he works every day to create innovative ways to help teachers deliver amazing mathematics content and inspire students.
2017 Festival: Dr. Raj Shah, Math Plus Academy
Dr. Raj Shah, Math Plus Academy
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Raj Shah to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Raj Shah has always had an affinity for math. His love of math led to a Ph.D. in physics in 1999. In 2008, Shah quit his job at Intel and founded Math Plus Academy, an afterschool STEM enrichment program for kids from 5 to 14 years old. His mission is to introduce kids and adults to the wonders of mathematics. He also contributes his time to Math Teacher Circles, the Julia Robinson Math Festival, and is a charter member of the Global Math Project. He believes that everyone can enjoy math, develop strong number sense, and become a perseverant problem solver.
2017 Festival: Dr. Mark Rosin
Dr. Mark Rosin
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Mark Rosin to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Mark Rosin is a practicing scientist and Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, New York. He is cofounder of Guerilla Science, with over seven years of production experience, and the winner of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.
Cash Prizes for Everyone!
Cash Prizes for Everyone! is an interactive game show that offers the audience a chance to win big! In front of a large crowd, competitors (drawn randomly from the audience) will be invited to compete against a performing mathematician in one of a number of solved games. Huge prizes offered to anyone who can beat the house!
Oobleck Olympics
Oobleck Olympics is a handson ‘obstacle’ course where contestants slug it out over a range of mathletic hurdles. Small teams will walk, jump, and skip through a (nonNewtonian) water challenge; compete in a honey dipper eggandspoon style race; and shoot smoke rings like William Tell! Competitors will need to mathematically manipulate the forces of nature to win.
2017 Festival: Dr. Mary Lou Zeeman, Bowdoin College
Dr. Mary Lou Zeeman, Bowdoin College
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Mary Lou Zeeman to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Mary Lou Zeeman uses mathematics within crossdisciplinary research communities to help understand sustainability, climate change, and protecting the health of the planet. Zeeman is a codirector of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, a member of the executive council of the Computational Sustainability Network, and a coleader of the Mathematics of Planet Earth Initiative. She is a professor of Mathematics at Bowdoin College.
Math, Tipping Points, and Planet Earth
Whatever your talents, and whatever your passions, you can use them to help our planet. This is especially true if you enjoy math. In this talk, we’ll explore the mathematics of “tipping points”—dramatic moments when a system suddenly shifts from one state to another—and see how it can help us to understand the Earth’s past and make better decisions for its future.
Climate, Math, Ice Cores, and You: HandsOn Data from Planet Earth
Where do the graphs of past and future climate come from? Come and see inside an ice core, and use math to figure out what Earth’s climate was like thousands of years ago from air bubbles trapped in ice. Explore the dramatic climate shifts of the past, and learn about ways we use math to understand Earth’s present and future climate.
2017 Festival: Dr. Marc Lipsitch, Harvard University
Dr. Marc Lipsitch, Harvard University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Marc Lipsitch to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Marc Lipsitch is Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is an author of more than 200 peerreviewed publications on antimicrobial resistance, mathematical modeling of infectious disease transmission, bacterial and human population genetics, and immunity to Streptococcus pneumoniae. His group produced one of the earliest estimates of transmissibility of the SARS virus in real time in 2003, and provided a key estimate of the transmissibility of 1918 pandemic influenza.
Dr. Lipsitch has provided advice on antimicrobial resistance, SARS, and influenza to the Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Congressional Budget Office, Defense Science Board, several pharmaceutical companies, and the governments of Canada and Mexico.
Measure, Understand, Control: Applications of Mathematics to Zika Virus Disease
This talk will show how mathematical techniques are applied to determine the number of cases that are occurring (harder than you think!), estimate the risk of infection for causing severe outcomes like microcephaly, diagnose patients, and understand the spread of infection in order to control it.
2017 Festival: Dr. Scott Kim
Dr. Scott Kim
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Scott Kim to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Puzzles are to math what stories are to language, says noted puzzle designer, author, and mathematical artist Dr. Scott Kim. His first book, Inversions, introduced the world to ambigrams—words written symmetrically so they read upside down. His mathematical art appears in many math textbooks. His puzzles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Scientific American and Discover, and computer games such as Tetris and Bejeweled. He now designs educational games for abcmouse.com.
Sudoku and Beyond: Create Your Own Mathematical Puzzles
Solving puzzles is a great way to enjoy mathematics. But you don’t have to stop there. Inventing puzzles takes you deeper into the creative side of math, like writing a story deepens your appreciation of literature. In this handson workshop for kids and adults of all ages, master puzzle designer Scott Kim shows you how to create your own Sudoku puzzle, how to bend the rules to invent new types of puzzles, and how to make your own mathematics by asking new questions.
2017 Festival: Michael Morgan, Oakland Symphony
Michael Morgan, Oakland Symphony
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Michael Morgan to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Michael Morgan is Music Director and Conductor of the Oakland Symphony. He is also Artistic Director of the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Morgan attended public schools and began conducting at the age of 12. While a senior at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he was the Apprentice Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He won his first international conducting competition soon afterwards. He has won numerous community service awards, guest conducted many of the country’s premiere orchestras, and has seen the Oakland East Bay Symphony honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) with its Award for Adventurous Programming.
Peace Comes to the Unusual Kingdoms: An Outstanding Mathematical Musical for Children
What would happen if Prokofiev’s classic “Peter and the Wolf” inspired a new narrative orchestral piece about the joy of mathematics? Come find out as the Oakland Symphony’s Maestro Michael Morgan reads aloud this new story to the backdrop of a youth orchestra recording of the musical score. You might be asked to whistle along, or to solve a math puzzle or two!
Reddit “Ask Me Anything”: Dr. Rebecca Goldin on statistics in the media (11/21)
On Monday, November 21 from 12:002:00 p.m. Eastern, 2017 Festival presenter Dr. Rebecca Goldin took questions about statistics and the media at Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” (/r/IAmA) forum. You can view the full Q&A online at Reddit, which is aimed at readers ages 14+.
Dr. Goldin is a professor of mathematics at George Mason University and the director of STATS.org, a project of the nonprofit organization Sense about Statistics, which helps journalist with questions about interpreting statistics in their writing and research.
2017 Festival: Dr. PoShen Loh, Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. PoShen Loh, Carnegie Mellon University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. PoShen Loh to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. PoShen Loh is a math enthusiast and evangelist, operating across the entire mathematical spectrum from original research to massmarket education. He is a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he researches topics in combinatorics, probability, and computer science. He also works with the Mathematical Association of America as the national coach of the USA Math Olympiad team. He extends his activity to the global mainstream through the new educational technology platform expii.com, delivering free creative math puzzles and personalized math practice on every Internet device.
Creative Math Insights for the Everyday
What is the value of mathematics? We’ll share puzzles and paradoxes that arise from the failure of human intuition. See how mathematical reasoning can help us make sense out of these thoughtprovoking situations, and experience the surprising and fun nature of mathematics in the process. You’ll see everyday things in the world in a new mathematical light. These insights were accumulated from over a year of mathematical introspection on topics of common interest, and freely published as weekly interactive challenges on expii.com/solve. Several have appeared in features of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and FiveThirtyEight (part of ESPN).
2017 Festival: Dr. Clifford Stoll
Dr. Clifford Stoll
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Clifford Stoll to the 2017 National Math Festival!
A frequent guest on the YouTube channel Numberphile, Dr. Clifford Stoll is recognizable to a new generation as the man with 1,000 Klein bottles under his house. Stoll drew international attention when he caught a KGB hacker attempting to break into the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory computer system in 1986, one of the first documented hacking incidents in the USA. What followed included legal testimony in Germany, a memoir (The Cuckoo’s Egg), a NOVA documentary, and a scifi short story, to name just a few of many results. Stoll has worn many hats in life—astronomer, teacher, author, maker, TED speaker, Klein bottle salesman—but one thing he’s never been is boring. If you see him, ask him about Jupiter.
Möbius Loops and Klein Bottles, Oh My!
Join Dr. Clifford Stoll, the physicist who keeps 1,000 Klein bottles in the crawl space under his northern California home and uses a miniature forklift robot he built to retrieve them. We can’t say for sure what he’ll talk about. We can safely predict he’ll bring at least a few of his blownglass, mathematically mesmerizing creations courtesy of his company, Acme Klein Bottles. Hint: If you’ve met a Möbius Loop, you’ve met a cousin of the Klein bottle.
2017 Festival: Matt Parker, Queen Mary University of London
Matt Parker, Queen Mary University of London
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Matt Parker to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Matt Parker is a standup comedian and mathematician. He appears regularly on TV and online: as well as being a presenter on the Discovery Channel, his YouTube videos have been viewed over 35 million times. As part of the comedy group Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Parker has toured worldwide and is the first person to use an overhead projector onstage at the Hammersmith Apollo since Pink Floyd. Previously a maths teacher, he visits schools to talk to students about maths as part of Think Maths and he is involved in the Maths Inspiration shows. In his remaining free time, he wrote the book Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension (Penguin, 2014). He is also the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.
Matt Parker: StandUp Mathematician
Matt Parker is a standup comedian and mathematician. Occasionally simultaneously. In this show he will be combining his joint loves of math and comedy with a talk about some of the most interesting, and entertaining, bits of mathematics he has come across recently. Expect calculations, spreadsheets, and absolutely no dividing by zero.
2017 Festival: Elisabeth Heathfield, Making Math Visible
Elisabeth Heathfield, Making Math Visible
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Elisabeth Heathfield to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Elisabeth Heathfield is a certified teacher and an artist with indepth experience running math workshops at the middle and elementary school levels. For the 20152016 academic year, she was a visiting scholar at Stony Brook University, where she conducted research into early math education. Heathfield is interested in exploring the connections between math and art and how handson construction activities can change children’s mindsets about mathematics. She has created and managed a weekly afterschool STEAM club, as well as community math nights and Celebration of Mind events for Martin Gardner’s birthday. She has given matheducation workshops to teachers at Lakehead University, at the Ontario Association of Math Educators Conference, at the MIT Museum, and various NY City schools. Elisabeth has a B.A. in Visual Art from OCAD University, a B.Ed. from Lakehead University, and an M.A. from Norwich University of Art. She is also a practicing artist whose work has been exhibited in Canada, England, Italy, and the US and has taught fine art classes at various institutions in Ontario.
Giant SOMA Cube Workshop
SOMA is a cubebased geometric puzzle designed by Piet Hein in the 1930s. In this workshop, you will learn about this classic puzzle by constructing individual modules out of wood cubes and solving a progression of problems that lead up to a giant cardboard version. Participants will take home their own handsize wood version for continued play and exploration.
2017 Festival: Dr. Rebecca Goldin, George Mason University
Dr. Rebecca Goldin, George Mason University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Rebecca Goldin to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Rebecca Goldin is a professor of mathematical sciences at George Mason University. Goldin is the director of STATS.org, a nonprofit, nonpartisan project to analyze and explain numbers and statistics in the news and to promote statistical literacy in the media and society.
Do Video Games Cause Violence? Exploring the Mind with Statistics
Do video games cause violence? The simple answer is, “It’s complicated.” Reports on recent studies assume that a functional brain scan can “measure aggression,” but what does that mean? The human brain is complex. The research is varied and “aggression” can be interpreted differently in different contexts. While the detailed neural mechanisms underlying mental and emotional states remain poorly understood, mathematical and statistical models form the foundation for our incomplete, approximate knowledge on this and many other important, but not yet rigorously defined, social and scientific questions.
Important considerations include issues of research design and quantitative analyses. For example, how do we differentiate between the effects on older versus younger children, or between those on healthy versus vulnerable subpopulations? Acts of violence are often committed by single individuals, yet studies measure effects across wide populations. Basic statistical concepts are helpful to shed light on these and other complex, interesting, and consequential open problems affecting all of us, often yielding intriguing and counterintuitive conclusions.
2017 Festival: Dr. Maria Droujkova, Natural Math
Dr. Maria Droujkova, Natural Math
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Maria Droujkova to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Maria Droujkova is a parent, curriculum developer, and mathematics education consultant. Maria brings together leaders in mathematics education, researchers, developers, parents, and teachers for projects and discussions of family mathematics, early algebra, individualized instruction, math games, and math clubs.
A Better Story of Math: Calculus for 5YearOlds, Grief, and Natural Math Adventures
When it comes to children learning mathematics, what are your worries and dreams? What is it all about—what is it really all about? How can your young child play with powerful math such as integrals, fractals, and infinity—and why do so? How can grownups help, if they carry their own math scars? Come for a frank conversation about math making your children strong, creative, and caring. Learn what it takes for children to make their own beautiful, meaningful, and joyful mathematics.
Natural Math Play Date
Come make easy handson crafts, explore puzzles, relax, and observe simple ways to set up math play dates for your family or class. Seek rotational symmetry in snowflakes, make a fractal cat, or play hideandseek with your missing x. Aimed for casual participants ages 3 to 133, the Natural Math collection of activities brings a mathrich lifestyle to any setting, in small bits of wonder.
2017 Festival Schedule Preview!
Immerse yourself in the playful side of math!
Preschoolers will learn programming—with only their own two hands and feet! Teens: Take cybersecurity into your own hands with realdata manipulations. Got your sneakers on? Race to factor in the Flagway™ game; or test your mettle with mathletic challenges in the Oobleck Olympics.
Glimpse how math patterns your life…
From the mathematics of eyesight, to the power of hurricane storm surges, from the inner workings of social networks, to the outer reaches of black holes, from the jazz of physics, to the math behind drag car racing, from the stats on video game violence, to ‘what Google will never know’ about you! These—and many more—juicy lectures are geared at high schoolers and up.
Explore math in every dimension!
Tackle a truly deep, unsolved math problem with Math Pickle; see if you can find the beginning and end of a Klein bottle with Cliff Stoll; make new friends onscreen with Navajo Math Circles. Meet Brady Haran from the YouTube channel Numberphile (and see what he’s filming at the Festival!) Nab a geometric balloon sculpture to wear. Take your picture and join the We♥Math wall, too.
News & Announcements
Learn more about the 2017 Festival, follow our blog posts, or sign up for occasional email updates to keep up with 2017 Festival presenters and announcements.
2017 Festival: Celebration of Mind
Celebration of Mind
Celebration of Mind returns to the National Math Festival in 2017!
Come experience the many facets of Celebration of Mind! Cut, color, fold, and glue mathematical illusions, discover the many faces of a flexagon, and construct surprising shapes out of möbius strips. Play with handson puzzles and solve problems created by the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, Gathering 4 Gardner, the Elwyn and Jennifer Berlekamp Foundation, and others. Explore unsolved math problems with Math Pickle; get puzzled by expert puzzlemakers; and enjoy geometric origamifolding. Engage in some interesting board games and learn some of the mathematics underlying their strategies—from classics like chess, Amazons, and Dots and Boxes, to newer offerings from ThinkFun Games such as Math Dice, Rush Hour, and more!
We’ll present a wide range of intriguing problems, puzzles, and games to share the joy of math with students of all ages. Participants can select a problem they find interesting, and work together with their friends or helpful adults to discover a solution—or unexpected results. Younger kids may find themselves particularly drawn to such handson activities as Space Chips and ThinkFun’s Chocolate Fix, while older students will appreciate the depth and complexity of problems like Difference Engine and Building Blocks.
2017 Festival: Mathical Book Prize
Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens
The National Math Festival welcomes Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens to the 2017 Festival!
The Mathical Book Prize is an annual award for fiction and nonfiction books that inspire children of all ages to see math in the world around them. The winners of the 2017 Mathical Book Prize will be announced at the 2017 National Math Festival. More details about Mathical Book Prize programming will be shared in early 2017, including author readings, book signings, and more!
The Mathical Book Prize is an annual award for fiction and nonfiction books that inspire children of all ages to see math in the world around them. Mathical Award Winners and Honor Books are selected by a nationwide committee of mathematicians, educators, librarians, and authors. Each year’s selections join a growing list of stories ranging from picture books and graphic novels to chapter books and young adult literature.
The Mathical Book Prize is organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). To learn more, visit mathicalbooks.org.
2017 Festival: FIRST^{®}
FIRST^{®} – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes FIRST^{®} to the 2017 National Math Festival!
FIRST^{®} engages kids from kindergarten through high school in exciting, mentorbased research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders. Over 140,000 high school students compete in exciting handson robotics challenges. Learn more at firstinspires.org.
Robotics and the Math Connection
Join high school students from FIRST^{®} teams and their mentors as they explore the math behind building a winning robot. (Meet the robots, too!)
2017 Festival: ThinkFun
ThinkFun
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes ThinkFun to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Children love ThinkFun’s awardwinning games, mobile apps, brainteasers, and logic puzzles, available online and through major retailers in 60 countries worldwide. ThinkFun aims to be the spark that ignites young minds by translating the brilliant ideas of mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into addictively fun educational games that teach 21st century thinking skills and make learning fun – at any age. Learn more at thinkfun.com.
ThinkFun Games! Celebration of Mind
Come play three of ThinkFun’s most mathy puzzle games: Balance Beans demonstrates how mathematical equations can be represented as weights on a scale; Shapeometry is a geometric shape puzzle that can be solved algebraically; and Chocolate Fix is a logical deduction system in the form of a symbolbased puzzle. Enjoy playing through the challenges at your own pace, plus learn about puzzle inventors in history from ThinkFun staff.
Math Dice Tournament! Celebration of Mind
Come test your mathematical skills at ThinkFun’s mini Math Dice Tournament Competition! Our experts will get you quickly signed in and trained up, then it’s flat out calculating in the most clever and fun mathematical game challenge you will ever play.
2017 Festival: Dr. Stephon Alexander, Brown University
Dr. Stephon Alexander, Brown University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Stephon Alexander to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Physicist and musician Stephon Alexander has straddled the two worlds of theoretical physics and jazz music over the last two decades. He obtained his doctorate from Brown University and was a research physicist at Imperial College, London and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University. On the physics front, Alexander works on the connection between the smallest and largest entities in the universe pushing Einstein’s theory of curved spacetime to extremes, beyond the big bang with sub atomic phenomena.
Alexander is a specialist in the field of string cosmology, where the physics of superstrings are applied to address longstanding questions in cosmology. In 2001, he coinvented the model of inflation based on higher dimensional hypersurfaces in string theory called DBranes. In such models the early universe emerged from the destruction of a higher dimensional Dbrane which ignites a period of rapid expansion of space often referred to as cosmic inflation. Learn more at stephonalexander.org.
The Jazz of Physics
Join physicist and musician Dr. Stephon Alexander as he shares his personal journey as both cosmologist and jazz performer. You won’t want to miss his jazz saxophone solo, either! His recent book The Jazz of Physics—full of provocative, impressionistic vignettes—explores how physics and music are interwoven both in his own life story and in the way the universe works.
2017 Festival: Young People’s Project
Young People’s Project
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the Young People’s Project to the 2017 National Math Festival!
The Young People’s Project (YPP) uses Math Literacy Work to develop the abilities of elementary through high school students to succeed in school and in life, and in doing so involves them in efforts to eliminate institutional obstacles to their success. The YPP envisions a day when every young person — regardless of ethnicity, gender, or class — has access to a highquality education and the skills, attributes, and the community support s/he needs to successfully meet the challenges of their generation. Learn more at typp.org.
Young People’s Project: Flagway Games
Combine speed, athleticism, and precision with mastery of mathematics as you play the Flagway™ Game with us! Invented and patented by Robert Moses, the Flagway™ Game is based on the Möbius Function, which categorizes the natural numbers into three mutually exclusive categories. Flagway™ has the same elements that most sports have: running, scoring points, teamwork, coaching, training, competition, collaboration, and fun. Because of this, people of all ages are naturally attracted to the game. High school students, trained as coaches, will help players shine, regardless of their previous experience!
Flagway Tournament
Come cheer your favorite ‘hometown’ team of 5th and 6th graders from around the U.S. and Ireland who will participate in a friendly twohour competition, coached by high school students trained as Math Literacy workers! Regions sending teams include Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, Alton, IL, Jackson, MS, Miami, FL, and the Republic of Ireland.
2017 Festival: Science Cheerleader
Science Cheerleader
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Science Cheerleader to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Science Cheerleader is an organization of more than 200 current and former professional cheerleaders from the NFL, NBA, and other pro sports leagues, who are pursuing science and engineering careers. The Cheerleaders use their personal stories to playfully challenge stereotypes, encourage participation in citizen science activities, and inspire young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Learn more at sciencecheerleader.com.
Math Cheer Clinic
Join Science Cheerleader for a Math Cheer Clinic, where you can learn from the best: professional cheerleaders with advanced degrees in math! Create your own mathinspired cheers to get National Math Festival attendees on their feet.
2017 Festival: Natural Math
Natural Math
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Natural Math to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Natural Math is an international community that creates rich, playful, and meaningful mathematical experiences for everybody from toddlers to grownups. Everything starts with math stories and math adventures! Snowflakes are examples of fractals and an invitation to explore symmetry. Sliced fruit illustrates integrals and derivatives. Floor tiles form beautiful tessellations. Natural Math helps to organize math circles, publishes books, offers online courses, and addresses parents’ questions in an online forum. Learn more at naturalmath.com.
Natural Math: Handson Advanced Adventures for the Five and Younger Crowd
Can you program algorithms without a computer? Can you learn calculus before you learn to tie your shoes? Where is algebraic geometry in paper snowflakes? Join the volunteers at Natural Math to play with accessible, joyful, beautiful activities! The seven principles of Natural Math are adventure, openness, “yes, and” (acceptance, from improv), abundance, bridges, and easy complexity.
Scavenger Hunt
Grow your math eyes! Catch them all: cute, funny, beautiful pieces of rich math hiding in plain sight, all around. Play with wild topology, make leaps of logic, and take calculus to infinity and beyond.
2017 Festival: Welcoming our new key partner, the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)!
MoMath joins National Math Festival
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is delighted to share some big news: the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) will join the Institute for Advanced Study as a key partner of MSRI in organizing the 2017 National Math Festival!
The National Museum of Mathematics, located in Manhattan, New York, strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. Its dynamic exhibits and programs stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics.
MoMath participated in the 2015 National Math Festival with a wide variety of programming including its popular Math Midway interactive mathematics exhibit.
2017 Festival: Elwyn and Jennifer Berlekamp Foundation
Elwyn and Jennifer Berlekamp Foundation
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the Elwyn and Jennifer Berlekamp Foundation back to the 2017 Festival!
The Elwyn and Jennifer Berlekamp Foundation, located in Oakland, California, is devoted to furthering the mathematical sciences, from the most advanced research to the playful and inspired inventions of amateurs.
2017 Festival: Gathering 4 Gardner
Gathering 4 Gardner
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Gathering 4 Gardner to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Gathering 4 Gardner Foundation works to honor the achievements of Martin Gardner by promoting the lucid exposition of new and accessible ideas in recreational mathematics, magic, puzzles, and philosophy, as well as encouraging further creative work in these areas by enthusiasts of all ages.
2017 Festival: Dr. Talea L. Mayo, University of Central Florida
Dr. Talea L. Mayo, University of Central Florida
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Talea L. Mayo to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Talea L. Mayo is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering at the University of Central Florida. She specializes in coastal ocean modeling, with special interests in hurricane storm surge modeling, flood risk assessment, and the development of mathematical methods of improving models using data.
When Will I Ever Use This: How Scientists Use Math to Model and Understand Hurricane Storm Surges
Major hurricanes such as Katrina (2005), Sandy (2012), and Irene (2011) can have devastating impacts, whether we experience the storms firsthand, have family members who are affected, or are simply exposed to them through media coverage. Come explore how math can be used to understand the world around us, through forecasting, modeling, and risk assessment of hurricane storm surges.
Not Your Average Mathematician
Talea Mayo grew up watching the TV show Matlock and always thought she’d be a lawyer. However, she also always really enjoyed math. It was challenging for her, but as with anything, she got better the more she practiced. She grew to love the subject and later realized the similarities between math problems and the logical arguments required in law. She wanted to make an impact on society with her career, and eventually found that through mathematics she could do that too! Come to this talk to understand how!
2017 Festival: Dr. George Hart, Bridges Organization
Dr. George Hart, Bridges Organization
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. George Hart of the Bridges Organization back to the 2017 Festival!
Whether he is slicing a bagel into two linked halves or leading hundreds of participants in a barnraising for an intricate geometric sculpture, Dr. George Hart always finds an original way to share the beauty of mathematical thinking. An interdepartmental research professor at Stony Brook University, he holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Hart is an organizer of the annual conference, Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science and the editor for sculpture for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. His research explores innovative ways to use computer technology in the design and fabrication of his artwork, which has been exhibited widely around the world. Hart cofounded the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City and developed its initial set of handson exhibits. He makes videos that show the fun and creative sides of mathematics. Learn more at Making Math Visible or georgehart.com.
Making Math Visible
Dr. Hart will show you a series of beautiful mathematical objects you can construct for yourself. Each illustrates interesting aspects of logical and geometric thinking. Assemble them all together to create your own personal museum of mathematics.
Geometric Sculpture Assembly
Join mathematical artist Dr. George Hart to assemble a giant geometric sculpture that illustrates some fun and creative aspects of mathematics.
Curator’s Tour — Math Art Exhibit
Take a tour with the curator of artworks selected to show a wide range of media and mathematical ideas. Don’t miss this chance to see prints, sculpture, fiber arts, 3D prints, carved stone, and ceramics by some of the most creative mathinspired artists in the world.
2017 Festival: Dr. Herbert Ginsburg, Columbia University
Dr. Herbert Ginsburg, Teachers College, Columbia University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Herbert Ginsburg of the Teachers College at Columbia University back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Herbert Ginsburg is the Jacob H. Schiff Foundations Professor of Psychology & Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has conducted basic research on the development of mathematical thinking, with particular attention to young children, disadvantaged populations, and cultural similarities and differences. He has drawn on contemporary research to create mathematics activities (Big Math for Little Kids) and storybooks for young children, tests of mathematical thinking, and video workshops to enhance teachers’ understanding of students’ mathematics learning. He is now developing materials designed to help teachers and parents engage in mathematical book reading with their children.
EBook Math Storytime for Preschoolers
Parents will have a chance to read some new interactive math storybooks on touchscreen tablets with their children. Members of our team will be available to guide the reading with techniques that parents will find valuable at home.
How to Find Good Math Storybooks and Read Them with Your Children
Good math storybooks for young children have several essential characteristics, ranging from artistic merit to the seamless integration of mathematical ideas, plot, and illustrations. This session will review and illustrate these important features. Then the session will examine ways to stimulate mathematical interest, thinking, and learning, as adult and child read from both explicit math and ordinary (nonexplicit math) storybooks.
2017 Festival: Paul Giganti, California Math Festival Program
Paul Giganti, California Math Festival Program
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Paul Giganti of the California Math Festival Program to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Paul Giganti is the former Director of the Bay Area Mathematics Project at the University of California, Berkeley (now retired) where he worked with K12 educators, parents, and families in improving mathematics instruction, curriculum, and assessment for all students. Prior to his work at UC Berkeley, Giganti was an elementary and mathematics classroom teacher of all grades, kindergarten through eighth. He has been actively involved in professional organizations that support mathematics educators, and is a past president of the California Mathematics Council. Giganti directs the California Math Festival Program, a handson activitybased program for K8 students, teachers, and families. He also authors children’s literature books with mathematics themes.
Handson Geometry Festival for All Ages! Presented by the California Math Festival Program
Join us for a handson, problemsolving fair—California Math Festival style! Everybody in your family from grandma to little brother can experience a dozen exciting geometry activities. You don’t have to watch; you’ll find problems that are just right for you! Come have fun doing math with your whole family.
2017 Festival: Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf, Institute for Advanced Study
Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf, Institute for Advanced Study
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf of the Institute for Advanced Study to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is a mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. Dijkgraaf is President of the InterAcademy Partnership, past President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a distinguished public policy adviser and advocate for science and the arts.
The End of Space and Time: The Mathematics of Black Holes and the Big Bang
Einstein showed more than a century ago how his theory of relativity captures gravity and the evolution of the cosmos in the geometry of space and time. However these laws of the universe break down at the frontiers of science: at the Big Bang, where time begins, and inside black holes, where time stops. New mathematical ideas about quantum geometry suggest a structure even more fundamental than space and time.
2017 Festival: Dr. Alissa S. Crans, Loyola Marymount University
Dr. Alissa S. Crans, Loyola Marymount University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Alissa S. Crans back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Alissa S. Crans has been recognized nationally for her enthusiastic ability to share and communicate mathematics, having been honored with the Hasse Prize for expository writing on mathematics, as well as with the 2011 Henry L. Alder Award for distinguished teaching by a beginning college or university mathematics faculty member. A presenter at the first National Math Festival in 2015, Crans has also been invited to speak at MoMath and in various lecture series including the MAA Distinguished Lecture and George Kitchen Memorial Lecture, as well as at numerous mathematical days for undergraduates. She is known for her active mentoring and support of women and underrepresented students and is dedicated to helping all students increase their appreciation and enthusiasm for the discipline. She proselytizes about math in settings that range from the public library to “Nerd Night” to public school classrooms. She is Professor of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University, where her research interests lie in the field of higherdimensional algebra and are currently supported by a Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant.
Patterns + Women = Figures in Mathematics
How many mathematicians can you name? How many female mathematicians were on your list? Come be introduced to Grace Chisholm Young, a prominent female mathematician known for the mathematics textbooks for children she coauthored with her husband. Together, we’ll discover an equation in their book about geometry, known as “Euler’s Formula,” that relates the number of vertices, edges, and faces of a given polyhedron. Note: This workshop is for middle and high school girls and their accompanying adults.
A Surreptitious Sequence: The Catalan Numbers
Many of us are familiar with famous sequences of numbers such as the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, …, perfect squares 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, …, Fibonacci sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, … ,or the triangular numbers 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, … But what about the sequence 1, 1, 2, 5, 14, …? First described by Euler in the 1700s and made famous by Belgian mathematician Eugene Catalan 100 years later, these “Catalan numbers” take on a variety of different guises as they provide the solution to numerous problems throughout mathematics.
2017 Festival: Dr. Mariel Vazquez, University of California, Davis
Dr. Mariel Vazquez, University of California, Davis
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Mariel Vazquez of the University of California, Davis to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Mariel Vazquez works to explain mathematically the way DNA strands are knotted, among other tricky problems. She is CAMPOS Professor of Mathematics, Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Davis. While a postdoctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, she received an Exxon Mobil Project NExT Fellowship. She has been named the 2016 BlackwellTapia Prize honoree, the 2014 Mohammed Dahleh Distinguished Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a 2012 recipient of the US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and a 2011 National Science Foundation CAREER awardee.
Connections and Reconnections: A Link Between Mathematics, Physics, and DNA
What does an airplane in flight have in common with the way DNA recombines? Both are examples of modeling reconnection events, which are common in biology, but also in fluid dynamics. DNA rearrangements also arise from radiation damage or in cancer. In both cases scientists use a combination of tools from pure math, computer simulations and visualization, and statistics to analyze experimental data. Dr. Vazquez shares a window into her research, which points the way toward new understandings of our own inner workings.
2017 Festival: Dr. Marcus du Sautoy, University of Oxford
Dr. Marcus du Sautoy, University of Oxford
The National Math Festival welcomes Dr. Marcus du Sautoy to the 2017 Festival!
Dr. Marcus du Sautoy is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. His many honors include the Berwick Prize of the London Mathematical Society awarded for the best mathematical research made by a mathematician under 40 and the Royal Society’s Faraday Prize, the UK’s premier award for excellence in communicating science. In 2004 Esquire Magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential people under 40 in Britain.
His book The Music of the Primes won two major prizes in Italy and Germany for the best popular science book of the year. du Sautoy writes for the Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent, and the Guardian and is frequently asked for comment on BBC radio and television. For several years he had a regular column in the Times called Sexy Science. He has written and performed widely across radio, television, orchestra, and the stage.
The Math of Art and the Art of Math
From composers to painters, writers to choreographers, the mathematician’s palette of shapes, patterns, and numbers has proved a powerful inspiration. Artists can be subconsciously drawn to the same structures that fascinate mathematicians as they hunt for interesting new structures to frame their creative process. Dr. du Sautoy will explore the hidden mathematical ideas that underpin the creative output of wellknown artists and reveal that the work of the mathematician is also driven by strong aesthetic values.
Print & Play Hexaflexagon Puzzle!
If you missed the National Math Festival booth at the USA Science and Engineering Festival on April 1416, you can still join the fun at home with our tricky hexaflexagon puzzle!
This puzzle requires a color printer, scissors, and a glue stick. Younger kids may need an adult’s help to cut and follow assembly instructions.
Download puzzle with instructions (PDF)
View stepbystep photo instructions
Can you figure out how to flip this puzzle so that you can see the other sides? Share your results with us on Twitter or Instagram with #wemath!
To learn how you can make your own hexaflexagon designs, check out Vi Hart’s video on the subject!
National Math Festival at the USA Science and Engineering Festival – April 1517, 2016
The National Math Festival is at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. April 1517, 2016. You can stop by our booth, located in the Math and Computer Science section in Hall A/B/C, to try constructing a hexaflexagon puzzle, meet a great friend of the Mathematical Science Research Institute, Cliff Stohl himself, and take part in our geometric balloon twisting. We’ll be sharing photos and video all weekend on Twitter and Instagram with #wemath, and on our Facebook page, too!
At Thursday’s XSTEM Symposium, our MSRI staff member Kirsten ran into Dr. George Hart of the Bridges Organization and Dr. Richard Tapia, both 2015 Festival presenters who will be back for 2017!
2017 Festival: The Bridges Organization
The Bridges Organization
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes The Bridges Organization back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
The Bridges Organization inspires creativity at the intersection between mathematics and the visual and performing arts. Launched in 1998 as an international conference entitled, “Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science,” and hosted annually since that year, the Bridges conference is the largest interdisciplinary conference in mathematics and the arts in the world. Outside the conference setting, the Bridges Organization focuses on innovative and integrative outreach that promotes interdisciplinary work in the fields of mathematics and art. Learn more at bridgesmathart.org.
MathArt Exhibit
Who knew math could be so inspirational, or patterns so beautiful? Come be surprised by the way artists use math, and mathematicians use art, to make a statement about the universe.
Platonic Paper Folding! Celebration of Mind
Fold and assemble a Platonic solid – your choice of a dodecahedron (12 sides) or icosahedron (20 sides). Whether you choose to wear it, decorate with it, or give it to a friend is up to you!
2017 Festival: Dr. Richard Tapia, Rice University
Dr. Richard Tapia, Rice University
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Richard Tapia back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
A recipient of the National Medal of Science, Dr. Richard Tapia is a mathematician in Rice University’s Computational and Applied Mathematics Department. In 1992, Tapia was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the first Hispanic to receive this honor. Two professional conferences have been named in his honor: the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference and the BlackwellTapia Mathematics Conference. Tapia served on the National Science Board from 1996 to 2002.
Math at Top Speed
What’s the math behind drag car racing? Starting with a bit of history, we’ll then turn to identifying elementary mathematical frameworks to study popular drag racing beliefs. Dr. Tapia will explain why dragster acceleration is greater than the acceleration due to gravity, an ageold inconsistency.
2017 Festival: Cash Prizes for Everyone!
Cash Prizes for Everyone!
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Cash Prizes for Everyone! as a featured event at the 2017 National Math Festival!
Cash Prizes for Everyone! is an interactive gameshow that offers the audience a chance to win big! In front of a large crowd, competitors (drawn randomly from the audience) will be invited to compete against a performing mathematician in one of a number of solved games. Huge prizes offered to anyone who can beat the house!
2017 Festival: Oobleck Olympics!
Oobleck Olympics obstacle course
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute is delighted to announce that the Oobleck Olympics will be a featured event at the 2017 National Math Festival!
The Oobleck Olympics is a handson ‘obstacle’ course where contestants slug it out over a range of mathletic hurdles. Small teams will walk, jump, and skip through a (nonNewtonian) water challenge; compete in a honey dipper eggandspoon style race; and shoot smoke rings like William Tell! Competitors will need to mathematically manipulate the forces of nature to win.
2017 Festival: Geometric Balloon Bending
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute is delighted to announce that Geometric Balloon Bending will be a featured event at the 2017 National Math Festival!
2017 Festival: Origami
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute is delighted to announce that Origami will be a featured event at the 2017 National Math Festival!
365 Days of Math with AMS, AWM, MAA, and SIAM!
The National Math Festival is a oneday free event in the heart of our nation’s capital on Saturday, April 22, 2017. But why stop there?
Math is everywhere, and the National Math Festival is excited to share the fun with four of the nation’s premiere national math organizations: the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM).
With so many math lovers joining forces, we want to celebrate the fun, power, and beauty of mathematics together – not just at the National Math Festival, but in our everyday lives and online, too! We’ve put together a selection of games, puzzles, books, and videos in this site’s More Math! section. And when you see math around you in the world, please tell us using #wemath on Twitter or Instagram! We want to hear about your discoveries and share them with the world.
2017 Festival: American Mathematical Society (AMS)
American Mathematical Society (AMS)
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the American Mathematical Society back to the 2017 National Math Festival!
The American Mathematical Society (AMS) is an association of professional mathematicians who have been serving the national and international communities since the society was founded in 1888. Its goals are to further the interests of mathematical research and scholarship and to educate through publications, meetings, advocacy and other programs that promote mathematical research. The society encourages and facilitates the transmission of mathematical understanding and skills, supports mathematical education at all levels, and advances the status of the profession by fostering an appreciation of the way mathematics connects to other disciplines and everyday life.
Who Wants to Be a Mathematician?
In the American Mathematical Society contest Who Wants to Be a Mathematician, area high school students will compete by answering multiple choice mathematics questions in a competitive and entertaining quiz show format. The top prize is $3,000!
2017 Festival: NOVA and NOVA Labs
NOVA and NOVA Labs
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes NOVA and NOVA Labs back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
NOVA is the mostwatched prime time science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. Now in its fourth decade of production, the series remains committed to producing indepth science programming in the form of onehour documentaries and longform miniseries, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world.
NOVA Labs is a free digital platform that engages teens and lifelong learners in activities and games that foster authentic scientific exploration. Each lab focuses on a different area of active research, but all of them illustrate key concepts with engaging and informative videos, and guide participants through activities and games that encourage citizen science.
Real Science, Real Data, You: Scientific Exploration with NOVA Labs Games
Come take part in realworld investigations by visualizing, analyzing, and playing with the same data that scientists use. NOVA Labs is a free digital platform where teens can actively participate in the scientific process, from predicting solar storms and designing renewable energy systems to tracking cloud movements and learning cyber security strategies.
2017 Festival: First 8 Studios at WBGH
First 8 Studios at WBGH
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes First 8 Studios at WGBH back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
The WGBH Educational Foundation has pioneered children’s educational media for decades. First 8 Studios at WGBH is dedicated to carrying this pioneering spirit into the digital, mobile world. First 8 Studios builds and researches new learning experiences for children from birth through age 8, their parents, and their teachers.
Early Math Learning with Technology: Gracie & Friends Apps and Activities
Share the joy of early math learning with your preschoolers while playing the Gracie & Friends apps and activities! With brand new iPad apps to strengthen spatial thinking skills and apps for subitizing (perceiving at a glance the number of items) and equipartitioning (dividing groups into equal subgroups), Gracie & Friends will bring the delight of math to your little ones. First 8 Studios at WGBH showcases public media’s pioneering research and development on how to best use tablet technology for early math learning. (Tablets provided!)
2017 Festival: Brady Haran, Numberphile
Brady Haran, Numberphile
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Brady Haran of Numberphile to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Brady Haran is a UKbased video journalist and filmmaker, and the creator of YouTube’s most popular informal math channel, Numberphile (supported by MSRI, with over 200 million views), as well as many other popular sciencethemed YouTube channels, including Periodic Videos (chemistry), Sixty Symbols (physics), and Objectivity (cool objects).
Brady also finds the time to record the popular Hello Internet podcast with fellow YouTube creator C.G.P. Grey, selected by Apple as one of the best new podcasts of 2014. For more about Brady’s projects, visit bradyharan.com.
Brady Haran: In Conversation with Matt Parker
Join YouTube’s Numberphile filmmaker Brady Haran in conversation with “standup mathematician” Matt Parker.
Brady Haran: In Conversation with Dr. Cliff Stoll
Join Numberphile filmmaker Brady Haran in conversation with physicist and Klein bottle maker Dr. Cliff Stoll.
Meet Brady Haran of YouTube’s Numberphile
Join Numberphile filmmaker Brady Haran for casual conversation (and brownpaper autographs!).
2017 Festival: Dr. James Tanton, Mathematical Association of America
Dr. James Tanton, Mathematical Association of America
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. James Tanton to the 2017 National Math Festival!
James Tanton (PhD, Princeton 1994, mathematics) is an education consultant and an ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C., currently serving as their MathematicianatLarge. He has taught mathematics both at university and highschool institutions. Tanton is absolutely committed to sharing joyful and beautiful mathematical thinking and doing with all. He writes books and articles, he advises on curriculum, he consults with teachers and gives demonstration classes across the globe, he designs and teaches graduate education courses, he gives public outreach lectures, and he works with students of all ages and backgrounds to experience the wonder of mathematics. See his sites at jamestanton.com and gdaymath.com and the Global Math Week site for more.
Exploding Dots: A Preview to Global Math Week 2017
Dr. James Tanton says: “Here is a story that isn’t true. When I was a young child I invented a machine (not true) that was nothing more than a series of boxes that could hold dots. And these dots would, upon certain actions, explode. And with this machine (in this nontrue story) I realized that I could explain true things! I could explain all the mathematics of arithmetic I learnt in grade school (true), all the of the polynomial algebra I was to learn in highschool (true), elements of calculus and number theory I was to learn in university (true), and explore unanswered research questions mathematicians are studying today (also true)!”
Come with pencil and paper in hand, and possibly an extra pair of socks—this lecture will knock yours right off!
2017 Festival: Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival
Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival back for the 2017 National Math Festival!
Julia Robinson Mathematics Festivals inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem solving. Festivals are held around the country at different times throughout the year. See jrmf.org for upcoming events near you!
Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival Presents: A Celebration of Mind
Explore unsolved math problems and get stumped by expert puzzlemakers. Fold geometric origami with the Bridges Organization. Learn how to make tetrahedra from business cards with the Math Plus Academy. Math for Love will guide you through problems using laser beams for billiard balls. Immerse yourself in ThinkFun games such as Shapeometry and Balance Beans.
2017 Festival: Dr. Stephanie Palmer, University of Chicago
Dr. Stephanie Palmer, University of Chicago
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Stephanie Palmer of the University of Chicago to the 2017 National Math Festival!
Dr. Stephanie Palmer studies learning behaviors in both animals and humans. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. She has a PhD in theoretical physics from Oxford University, and works on questions at the interface of neuroscience and statistical physics. Her recent work explores the question of how the visual system processes incoming information, to make fast and accurate predictions about the future positions of moving objects in the environment. Since her undergraduate years at Michigan State University, she has been teaching chemistry, physics, math, and biology to a wide range of students. At the University of Chicago, she founded and runs the Brains! Program, which brings local middle school students to her lab to learn handson neuroscience.
Great Vision from Crummy Optics: How Do Your Eyes Do It?
Every day we look at the world through fickle, misshapen instruments – our eyes. Explore the math behind how your brain makes sense of these crummy pictures. Dr. Palmer will show you the basics of how vision works, revealing connections to everything from evolution to code breaking. Come see your eyes in a new light!
Image Credits
Images are used with permission from the source, or under appropriate licensing (such as Creative Commons licenses or public domain) If you own an image used on this site and wish to request removal, please contact Jennifer Murawski, MSRI Communications and Events Coordinator, at jmurawski@msri.org.
Rubik’s Cube
Credit: Gerd Altmann
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Geometric Patterns in Islamic Art
Credit: Dimitry B. / ru_boff (Flickr)
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Smithsonian Parterre
Credit: Eric Long, Smithsonian Institution photographer
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Modeling the Melt
Credit: NASA photograph by Kathryn Hansen
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How Not to Be Wrong
Credit: Albert Yau
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A Voyage That Will Forever Change Your Perspective of Home
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
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Archimedes: Superhero of the Mathematical World
Credit: Mechanics Magazine (1824)
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Very Small Sea Creatures
Credit: NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Microphotograph taken by G. Carter, April 2000
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The Math Behind Minecraft
Credit: MinecraftEDU
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The Math and Science of Getting in Sync
Credit: Mike Lewinski (Flickr)
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Math at Top Speed
Credit: Dr. Richard Tapia
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The Fair Lane Assignment Problem in BMX Bicycle Racing
Credit: Brady Haran, Numberphile
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Gracie and Friends apps
Credit: First 8 Studios at WGBH
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Catalan Numbers
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Cosmic Shadows and the Fifth Dimension
Credit: XMMNewton, ESA, NASA
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