2019 Festival Schedule

Thank you for joining us at the 2019 National Math Festival on Saturday, May 4th, 2019! A huge thank you to everyone who attended the National Math Festival events in Washington, DC and all the satellite events at science museums in 40 states around the U.S. We loved meeting you, learning about your math journeys and discoveries, playing games together, and celebrating the limitless power and joy of math as a community.

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and our collaborators at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) thank you for your support and contributions to making the day a wonderful success. Share your photos with us on social media using #2019NMF.

The 2019 Festival schedule is archived below. For updates about future National Math Festival events, subscribe to the Festival email newsletter.

10:15 AM

Event time: 10:15 am - 11:00 am

Data Did That!

From robots to Facebook, medicine, and shopping, data is a driving force in the world around us. How does this work? How do we store all that data and where does it come from? How do we transform data into Alexa,… Learn more →

Dr. Amelia Taylor

Event time: 10:15 am - 11:00 am

How Many Degrees are in a Martian Circle?

Who chose the number 360 for the count of degrees in a circle? Why that number? And why do mathematicians prefer not to use that number for mathematics? Why is the chosen direction of motion in mathematics counterclockwise when the… Learn more →

Dr. James Tanton

Event time: 10:15 AM

Impromptu Magic & Math – Learn Stunts to Dazzle your Friends and Family!

Magician Mark Mitton will teach you magic tricks, puzzles, and mathematical curiosities from the writings of the legendary Martin Gardner. Join us as we share secrets to feats you can perform with everyday objects, anywhere and anytime! Playing with surprise… Learn more →

Mark Mitton

Event time: 10:15 am - 11:00 am

Math and the Movies

Who made the ocean flow in “Moana”? Who made the snow swirl in “Frozen”? Mathematicians, that’s who! Come learn about the math behind the magic of modern movie visual effects! Add to Google Calendar · Register for 2019 Festival updates on Eventbrite… Learn more →

Dr. Joseph Teran

Event time: 10:15 am - 11:00 am

Math and Your Love Life

Suppose boys and girls in a school wish to date. Can we match-make so no couple breaks up? How does the math change for straight, gay and bi kids? In this talk, we’ll see math is a powerful matchmaker, and… Learn more →

Dr. Annie Raymond

Event time: 10:15 am - 11:00 am

Safety Goggles Not Required: Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Your Laptop

Computational modeling drives everything from making animation more art-directable, to experimenting with theories of cancer growth without getting dirty, to the design of materials later used in engineering. In a “laptop laboratory,” mathematicians can explore how information would travel through… Learn more →

Dr. Suzanne L. Weekes

11:30 AM

Event time: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm

Cryptography: Secrets and Lies, Knowledge and Trust

Can you play poker on the telephone with people you don’t trust? Amazingly, you can! Come find out how—the ideas involved, and related ones, also underlie internet security and e-commerce. The general public is well aware of the essential role… Learn more →

Dr. Avi Wigderson

Event time: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm

Math, Ice Cores, and Planet Earth

Come and see inside an ancient ice core, and find out about cool ways you can use math to help keep Planet Earth healthy. 

Dr. Mary Lou Zeeman

Event time: 11:30 AM

Math, Music, History: 300 Years in 30 Minutes

Come tour some highlights of Math and Music over the past 300 years, with mathematician and violinist Dr. Lillian Pierce!

Dr. Lillian Pierce

Event time: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm

Mathematics for Human Flourishing

Some think of mathematics as cold, lifeless, and unemotional. But mathematics can be a hopeful vehicle for building virtue and helping people flourish, and the practice of mathematics can help people connect to their deeply human desires — to play,… Learn more →

Dr. Francis Su

Event time: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm

The Creativity Code: The Art of Algorithms and the Algorithms of Art

As a species, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be human. Yet some believe that the new developments in AI and machine learning are so sophisticated that… Learn more →

Dr. Marcus du Sautoy

Event time: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm

The Mathematics of Social Choice

This talk will explore the paradoxes and possibilities of the mathematics of voting, which seeks to answer, among other questions: If more than two candidates run for office, by what procedure should the winner be chosen to most equitably reflect… Learn more →

Dr. Emily Riehl

12:45 PM

Event time: 12:45 pm - 1:30 pm

A Fine Art of Problem Solving: How Mathematicians Use Braids to Save the Day, One Ribbon at a Time

People all around the world love braiding: weavers, hairdressers…and even mathematicians! Meet mathematician Nancy Scherich to learn how she uses dance to teach the mathematics of braids. Scherich was the 2017 winner of the annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest organized… Learn more →

Nancy Scherich

Event time: 12:45 pm - 1:30 pm

Math and the Movies

Who made the ocean flow in “Moana”? Who made the snow swirl in “Frozen”? Mathematicians, that’s who! Come learn about the math behind the magic of modern movie visual effects! Add to Google Calendar · Register for 2019 Festival updates on… Learn more →

Dr. Joseph Teran

Event time: 12:45 pm - 1:30 pm

Math and Your Love Life

Suppose boys and girls in a school wish to date. Can we match-make so no couple breaks up? How does the math change for straight, gay and bi kids? In this talk, we’ll see math is a powerful matchmaker, and… Learn more →

Dr. Annie Raymond

Event time: 12:45 pm - 1:30 pm

Math, Ice Cores, 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. Come and see inside an ancient ice core, and find out about cool ways you can use… Learn more →

Dr. Mary Lou Zeeman

Event time: 12:45 pm - 1:30 pm

The Geometry of Chess

The chessboard is an eight by eight grid. Despite the limited size of the board, there exist some beautiful geometrical concepts in the game. We will briefly investigate the mathematics involved in some of these concepts. Add to Google Calendar ·… Learn more →

John Urschel

Event time: 12:45 PM

The Power of Primes

You’ve seen her on the YouTube channel Numberphile. Now join Dr. Holly Krieger as she explores the beautifully weird and weirdly beautiful world of pure mathematics — a world of chaotic attractors, narcissistic numbers, and more! 

Dr. Holly Krieger

2:00 PM

2:00 PM

Dance of the Diagram

Dance of the Diagram, choreographed by Kyla Barkin and Aaron Selissen, will delight all viewers, regardless of their previous mathematical credentials! The piece, commissioned by celebrated mathematician Dr. James Simons, was inspired by a beautiful piece of mathematics coming from geometry. As it goes in mathematics, so it goes on the dance floor, as dancers traverse specific sequences and patterns on a hexagonal diagram. Along…

Learn more →

Event time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Cryptography: Secrets and Lies, Knowledge and Trust

Can you play poker on the telephone with people you don’t trust? Amazingly, you can! Come find out how—the ideas involved, and related ones, also underlie internet security and e-commerce. The general public is well aware of the essential role… Learn more →

Dr. Avi Wigderson

Event time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Data Did That!

From robots to Facebook, medicine, and shopping, data is a driving force in the world around us. How does this work? How do we store all that data and where does it come from? How do we transform data into Alexa,… Learn more →

Dr. Amelia Taylor

Event time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

How Many Degrees are in a Martian Circle?

Who chose the number 360 for the count of degrees in a circle? Why that number? And why do mathematicians prefer not to use that number for mathematics? Why is the chosen direction of motion in mathematics counterclockwise when the… Learn more →

Dr. James Tanton

Event time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Mathematics for Human Flourishing

Some think of mathematics as cold, lifeless, and unemotional. But mathematics can be a hopeful vehicle for building virtue and helping people flourish, and the practice of mathematics can help people connect to their deeply human desires — to play,… Learn more →

Dr. Francis Su

Event time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Safety Goggles Not Required: Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Your Laptop

Computational modeling drives everything from making animation more art-directable, to experimenting with theories of cancer growth without getting dirty, to the design of materials later used in engineering. In a “laptop laboratory,” mathematicians can explore how information would travel through… Learn more →

Dr. Suzanne L. Weekes

Event time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

The Creativity Code: The Art of Algorithms and the Algorithms of Art

As a species, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be human. Yet some believe that the new developments in AI and machine learning are so sophisticated that… Learn more →

Dr. Marcus du Sautoy

3:15 PM

Event time: 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

A Fine Art of Problem Solving: How Mathematicians Use Braids to Save the Day, One Ribbon at a Time

People all around the world love braiding: weavers, hairdressers…and even mathematicians! Meet mathematician Nancy Scherich to learn how she uses dance to teach the mathematics of braids. Scherich was the 2017 winner of the annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest organized… Learn more →

Nancy Scherich

Event time: 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Impromptu Magic & Math – Learn Stunts to Dazzle your Friends and Family!

Magician Mark Mitton will teach you magic tricks, puzzles, and mathematical curiosities from the writings of the legendary Martin Gardner. Join us as we share secrets to feats you can perform with everyday objects, anywhere and anytime! Playing with surprise… Learn more →

Mark Mitton

Event time: 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Math, Music, History: 300 Years in 30 Minutes

Would you cook dinner from a 300-year-old recipe book? Make clothes from a 300-year-old pattern? Undergo treatment from a 300-year-old medical manuscript? Probably not. But what about playing a 300-year-old piece of music? Or studying a 300-year-old mathematical idea? Math… Learn more →

Dr. Lillian Pierce

Event time: 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

The Geometry of Chess

The chessboard is an eight by eight grid. Despite the limited size of the board, there exists some beautiful geometrical concepts in the game. We will briefly investigate the mathematics involved in some of these concepts. Add to Google Calendar ·… Learn more →

John Urschel

Event time: 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

The Mathematics of Social Choice

This talk will explore the paradoxes and possibilities of the mathematics of voting, which seeks to answer, among other questions: If more than two candidates run for office, by what procedure should the winner be chosen to most equitably reflect… Learn more →

Dr. Emily Riehl

Event time: 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

The Power of Primes

Prime numbers are the building blocks of arithmetic. But how do mathematicians think about primes? Come dive into the dizzying world of pure mathematics. Learn what prime numbers can tell us about Fermat’s Last Theorem, chaos theory, the Sierpinski triangle,… Learn more →

Dr. Holly Krieger