Difference between revisions of "Madison Math Circle"

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(New page: =What is it?= The UW-Madison math department organizes a series of talks aimed at high school students throughout the semester. Our goal is to present fun talks that give students a taste ...)
 
 
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=What is it?=
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[[Image:logo.png|right|600px]]
The UW-Madison math department organizes a series of talks aimed at high school students throughout the semester. Our goal is to present fun talks that give students a taste of interesting ideas in math and science. In the past we've had talks about plasma and weather in outer space, the way images are shaded in video games, and how credit card numbers are securely transmitted over the internet.  
 
  
'''Important:''' After each talk we'll have '''pizza''' provided by the department, and students will have an opportunity to mingle and chat with the speaker to ask questions about college, careers in science, etc.
+
For the site in Spanish, visit [[Math Circle de Madison]]
 +
=COVID-19 Update=
 +
We are back to in person talks during the Fall 2021 semester.
  
=Alright, I want to come!=
+
As is the university's policy, all participants must wear masks. We will make every effort to maintain social distancing where possible.
Great! If you're a high school teacher, we hope you'll tell your students about these talks and organize a car pool to the UW (all talks take place in Van Vleck Hall on the UW campus). '''We'd also appreciate if you [mailto:math-night@math.wisc.edu email] us the dates that your group will be attending''', so we can purchase the appropriate amount of pizza.
 
  
If you're a high school student, speak with your high school teacher about organizing a car pool to the math night (and tell us how many people are coming!)
+
=What is a Math Circle?=
 +
The Madison Math Circle is a weekly series of mathematically based activities aimed at interested middle school and high school students. It is an outreach program organized by the UW Math Department.  Our goal is to provide a taste of exciting ideas in math and science. In the past we've had talks about plasma and weather in outer space, video game graphics, and encryption.  In the sessions, students (and parents) are often asked to explore problems on their own, with the presenter facilitating a discussion.  The talks are independent of one another, so new students are welcome at any point.
  
=Questions?=
+
The level of the audience varies quite widely, including a mix of middle school and high school students, and the speakers generally address this by considering subjects that will be interesting for a wide range of students.
If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the Math Night organizers: [mailto:math-night@math.wisc.edu math-night@math.wisc.edu].
+
 +
 
 +
[[Image: MathCircle_2.jpg|550px]] [[Image: MathCircle_4.jpg|550px]]
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After each talk we'll have pizza provided by the Mathematics Department, and students will have an opportunity to mingle and chat with the speaker and with other participants, to ask questions about some of the topics that have been discussed, and also about college, careers in science, etc.
 +
 
 +
'''The Madison Math Circle was featured in Wisconsin State Journal:''' [http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/school-spotlight-madison-math-circle-gives-young-students-a-taste/article_77f5c042-0b3d-11e1-ba5f-001cc4c03286.html check it out]!
 +
 
 +
=All right, I want to come!=
 +
 
 +
We usually have a weekly meeting, <b>Monday at 6pm in 3255 Helen C White Library</b>, during the school year. New students are welcome at any point!  There is no fee and the talks are independent of one another, so you can just show up any week, but we ask all participants to take a moment to register by following the link below:
 +
 
 +
[https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe_cKMfdjMQlmJc9uZg5bZ-sjKZ2q5SV9wLb1gSddrvB1Tk1A/viewform '''Math Circle Registration Form''']
 +
 
 +
All of your information is kept private, and is only used by the Madison Math Circle organizer to help run the Circle.  
 +
 
 +
If you are a student, we hope you will tell other interested students about these talks, and speak with your parents or with your teacher about organizing a car pool to the UW campus. If you are a parent or a teacher, we hope you'll tell your students about these talks and organize a car pool to the UW (all talks take place in 3255 Helen C White Library, on the UW-Madison campus, right next to the Memorial Union).
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==Meetings for Fall 2021==
  
==Talks this semester==
 
More details about each talk to follow. All talks are at 7pm in Van Vleck Hall B231.
 
  
 
<center>
 
<center>
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{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 
{| style="color:black; font-size:120%" border="1" cellpadding="14" cellspacing="0"
 
|-
 
|-
! Date !! Speaker !! Talk (click for more info)
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! colspan="3" style="background: #e8b2b2;" align="center" | Fall 2021
 +
|-
 +
! Date !! Speaker !! Topic
 +
|-
 +
| September 20th || Daniel Erman || <strong>Number Games</strong>
 +
 
 +
We’ll play some math-based games and then try to understand some of the patterns we observe.
 +
|-
 +
| September 27th || Evan Sorensen || <strong> The fastest way to travel between two points </strong>
 +
Given two points, we know the shortest distance between the points is a straight line. But is that always true? We will talk about how to build the best track for a toy car to travel between two points.  We’ll start by trying a few different options together and having a race. We’ll then talk about how two brothers thought about how to solve this problem using interesting examples from physics.
 +
|-
 +
| October 4th || Yandi Wu || <strong> Do you wanna build a donut?  </strong>
 +
Topology is a field of math that deals with studying spaces. This math circle talk is an introduction to a concept in topology called “cut-and-paste” topology, which is named that way because we will build spaces out of cutting and gluing pieces of paper.
 
|-
 
|-
| February 17th, 2011 '''still being held''' || Andrew Bridy || [[#Cryptography|Cryptography]]
+
| October 11th || Ivan Aidun || <strong> Words, Words, Words </strong>
 +
We'll play a game where you have to guess a secret word that I choose.  We'll figure out how to use logic to improve our guesses.  Then, we'll explore some questions like: is there a best way to guess? or, what happens when I change the rules slightly?
 
|-
 
|-
| March 10th, 2011 || Ed Dewey || [[#The 0.5th Dimension|The 0.5th Dimension]]
+
| October 18th || Allison Byars || <strong> Sheep and Wolves </strong>
 +
In this math circle talk, we'll look at placing sheep and wolves on a grid so that none of the sheep get eaten.  We'll find different arrangements and try to figure out the maximum number which can be placed on a board of given size and generalize it for an arbitrary board. We will also discuss how this relates to a field of mathematics called combinatorics.
 
|-
 
|-
| March 24th, 2011 || Lalit Jain || [[#Cutting & Pasting|Cutting & Pasting]]
+
| October 25th || Jacob C Denson || <strong>Proofs in Three Bits or Less</strong>
 +
How many questions does it take to beat someone at Guess Who? How long should it take for you to figure out how to get to this math talk from your house? How many questions do you have to ask your classmate before you know they're telling the truth to you? Let's eat some pizza, and talk about how mathematicians might reason about these problems.
 
|-
 
|-
| April 7th, 2011 || Balazs Strenner || [[#Tilings|Tilings]]
+
| November 1st || Qin Li || <strong> How do we describe the world? </strong>
 +
The physical world consists of everything from small systems of a few atoms to large systems of billions of billions of molecules. Mathematicians use different languages and equations to describe large and small systems. Question is: How does mother nature use different languages for different systems and scales? Let us see what these languages look like, talk about their connections and differences, and see how they are reflected in our day-to-day life.
 
|-
 
|-
| April 28th, 2011 || Prof. Nigel Boston || [[#Face Recognition|Face Recognition]]
+
| November 8th || John Yin ||  <strong> River Crossings </strong>
 +
Here's a classic puzzle: A farmer needs to move a wolf, a sheep, and a box of cabbages across a river. He has a boat that can fit only one object other than himself. However, when left alone, the wolf will eat the sheep, and the sheep will eat the cabbages. How can the farmer move the wolf, the sheep, and the box of cabbages across the river without anything being eaten? I will discuss this problem by connecting it to graph theory, then give a generalization.
 +
|-
 +
| November 15th || Erik Bates || <strong> How big is a cartographer’s crayon box? </strong>
 +
Have a look at a world map.  If you are looking at one with borders and colors, notice that no border has the same color on both sides.  That is, no neighboring countries are colored the same. So how many different colors are needed to make this possible?  Does the answer change for a map of the U.S., when we try to color its fifty states?  What about a map of Wisconsin with its 72 counties?  We will explore these questions---and uncover some very deep mathematics---by doing the simplest and most soothing activity: coloring.
 +
|-
 +
| November 22nd || Robert Walker || <strong>Lagrange's Four Square Sum Theorem</strong>
 +
How many perfect squares are needed to represent each nonnegative integer n as a sum of perfect squares? This talk will answer that precise question -- students will get to the bottom of this.
 
|}
 
|}
  
 
</center>
 
</center>
----
 
===Cryptography===
 
<span style="background:#00FF00">February 17th, 2011</span> '''Update 2/16/11: still being held'''
 
  
'''The science of code making and code breaking'''
+
==Directions and parking==
  
Sending information securely over the internet is an enormous practical problem.  How can you be sure that no one is reading your email, or worse, stealing your credit card number when you buy something online?  Cryptography is the art of encoding a message so it looks like a string of random letters or numbers, and decoding it on the other side to get the original message back. In this talk I'll show you some simple ways you can use math to encode and decode information, and how the same techniques can be used to attack codes and try to break them.  The branch of math used is called number theory, and the problems that come up are very simple to state and very hard to solve, leading right to current research that mathematicians are working on today.
+
Our meetings are held on the 3rd floor of Helen C. White Hall in room 3255.
  
====Speaker: [http://www.math.wisc.edu/~bridy Andrew Bridy]====
+
<div class="center" style="width:auto; margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto;">
Andrew is a third year math Ph. D. student studying algebra and computer science. Before coming to graduate school, he taught high school math for a year and was deployed with the Peace Corps to Honduras. Andrew is an avid video game fan - you should ask him to tell you about his favorite PC video games of the late 1990's.
+
[[File: Helencwhitemap.png|400px]]</div>
----
 
===The 0.5th Dimension===
 
<span style="background:#00FF00">March 10th, 2011</span>
 
  
'''A Harrowing Journey to the 0.5th Dimension'''
+
'''Parking.''' Parking on campus is rather limited.  Here is as list of some options:
  
We frequently think about two dimensional spaces, like a map of a country, or three dimensional spaces, like the Holodeck from Star Trek. But what exactly is "dimension", anyway? This turns out to be a surprisingly deep question, without a unique answerBut asking it is still useful, and leads us to the strange and beautiful notion of Hassdorf dimension, one of the fndamentals of fractal geometry, which gives a meaning to non-integer dimensions. We will discuss Haussdorf dimension and its motivation, and see an application to psychology.  
+
*There is a parking garage in the basement of Helen C. White, with an hourly rate.  Enter from Park Street.
 +
*A 0.5 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/cxTzJY these directions], many spots ('''free starting 4:30pm''') [http://goo.gl/maps/Gkx1C in Lot 26 along Observatory Drive].
 +
*A 0.3 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/yMJIRd these directions], many spots ('''free starting 4:30pm''') [http://goo.gl/maps/vs17X in Lot 34].   
 +
*A 0.3 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/yMJIRd these directions], 2 metered spots (25 minute max) [http://goo.gl/maps/ukTcu in front of Lathrop Hall].
 +
*A 0.2 mile walk to Helen C. White Hall via [http://goo.gl/b8pdk2 these directions] 6 metered spots (25 minute max) around [http://goo.gl/maps/6EAnc the loop in front of Chadbourne Hall] .
 +
*For more information, see the [http://transportation.wisc.edu/parking/parking.aspx UW-Madison Parking Info website].
  
====Speaker: [http://www.math.wisc.edu/~dewey Ed Dewey]====
+
==Email list==
Ed is a first year Ph. D. student in mathematics. He used to be in a ska band. 
+
The best way to keep up to date with the what is going is by signing up for our email list. Please add your email in the form:
 +
[https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe_cKMfdjMQlmJc9uZg5bZ-sjKZ2q5SV9wLb1gSddrvB1Tk1A/viewform '''Join Email List''']
  
----
+
==Contact the organizers==
===Cutting & Pasting===
+
The Madison Math Circle is organized by a group of professors and graduate students from the [http://www.math.wisc.edu Department of Mathematics] at the UW-Madison. If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the '''organizers''' [mailto:mathcircleorganizers@g-groups.wisc.edu here]. We are always interested in feedback!
<span style="background:#00FF00">March 24th, 2011</span>
+
<center>
 +
<gallery widths=500px heights=300px mode="packed">
 +
<!--File:de.jpg|[https://www.math.wisc.edu/~derman/ Prof. Daniel Erman]-->
 +
<!--File:Betsy.jpg|[http://www.math.wisc.edu/~stovall/ Prof. Betsy Stovall]-->
 +
File:Uri.jpg|[https://www.math.wisc.edu/~andrews/ Prof. Uri Andrews]
 +
File: Omer.jpg|[https://www.math.wisc.edu/~omer/ Dr. Omer Mermelstein]
 +
</gallery>
  
  
The Bolyai-Gerwein theorem says that any two polygons of the same area have an "equi-dissection". In other words, there is a way to cut up one of the polygons into pieces (using straight line cuts) that can be rearranged to form the other. This deep theorem is surprisingly recent compared to much of classical geometry and has many interesting generalizations. During this weeks talk we will prove the theorem as a group using little more then argument by "scissors and glue."
 
  
Here are some fun applets to see this in action:
+
<gallery widths=500px heights=250px mode="packed">
 +
File: Karan.jpeg|[https://karans.netlify.app/ Karan Srivastava]
 +
File: Colin.jpg|[https://sites.google.com/view/colincrowley/home Colin Crowley]
 +
File: Allison.jpg|[https://sites.google.com/wisc.edu/allisonbyars/ Allison Byars]
 +
</gallery>
 +
</center>
  
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/AnExampleOfTheBolyaiGerwienTheorem/
+
and [https://math.wisc.edu/graduate-students/ Caitlin Davis], [http://www.math.wisc.edu/~csimpson6/ Connor Simpson], and  [https://math.wisc.edu/graduate-students/ Ivan Aidun].
  
http://www.cut-the-knot.org/Curriculum/Geometry/TwoRectangles.shtml
+
==Donations==
 +
Please consider donating to the Madison Math Circle. Our main costs consist of pizza and occasional supplies for the speakers. So far our costs have been covered by donations from the UW Mathematics Department as well as a generous gifts from private donors. The easiest way to donate is to go to the link:
  
 +
[http://www.math.wisc.edu/donate Online Donation Link]
  
An example of dissecting a square into pieces that form a triangle of the same area.
+
There are instructions on that page for donating to the Math Department.  <b> Be sure and add a Gift Note saying that the donation is intended for the "Madison Math Circle"!</b>  The money goes into the Mathematics Department Annual Fund and is routed through the University of Wisconsin Foundation, which is convenient for record-keeping, etc.
[[Image:TriangleSquare.jpg|200px]]
 
  
 +
Alternately, you can bring a check to one of the Math Circle Meetings.  If you write a check, be sure to make it payable to the "WFAA" and add the note "Math Circle Donation" on the check. 
  
====Speaker: [http://www.math.wisc.edu/~jain Lalit Jain]====
+
Or you can make donations in cash, and we'll give you a receipt.
Lalit is a first year Ph. D. student in mathematics interested in number theory and computer science. Before coming to graduate school, Lalit was a high school math teacher with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teach_for_america Teach For America] in San Francisco. You should ask Lalit about who shot Frances in the video game Left 4 Dead.
 
----
 
  
===Tilings===
+
==Help us grow!==
<span style="background:#00FF00">April 7th, 2011</span>
+
If you like Math Circle, please help us continue to grow!  Students, parents, and teachers can help by:
 +
* Like our [https://facebook.com/madisonmathcircle '''Facebook Page'''] and share our events with others!
 +
* Posting our [https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/images/Math_Circle_Flyer_2021.pdf '''flyer'''] at schools or anywhere that might have interested students.
 +
* Discussing the Math Circle with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others.
 +
* Making an announcement about Math Circle at PTO meetings.
 +
* Donating to Math Circle.
 +
Contact the organizers if you have questions or your own ideas about how to help out.
  
'''Tilings'''
+
=Useful Resources=
 +
<!--==Annual Reports==
 +
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/images/Math_Circle_Newsletter.pdf  2013-2014 Annual Report]-->
  
Tilings in the mathematical sense mean non-overlapping, gap-free coverings of the plane by certain shapes. For instance, one can take (infinitely many) squares and place them on the infinite plane as they are on a chessboard, nicely fitting next to each other. This is maybe the simplest example. But if one takes regular pentagons, it is impossible to form a tiling using only them.
+
== Archived Abstracts ==
  
The first class of interesting tilings we will discuss are the Penrose tilings. These involve two different shapes, the "kite" and the "dart". Not only it is fun to play with them and to try to make different arrangements, but these tilings have really interesting mathematical properties. Just to mention one of these: the ratio of the number of kites and darts - which I'll make precise - in all the possible arrangements is always the same, and it is the golden ratio!
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_Abstracts_2020-2021 2020 - 2021 Abstracts]
  
Tilings have an artistic nature as well. The Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher is famous for his math-connected drawings, and in fact many of these are tilings with funny shapes, birds for example. Another series of masterpieces by him are the woodcuts Circle Limit I-IV which picture hyperbolic tilings of the disk using funny graphics again. We will talk about their mathematical background, and also about how to write a program that makes a hyperbolic tiling out of an arbitrary image file.
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_Abstracts_2019-2020 2019 - 2020 Abstracts]
  
[[Image:LW434.jpg]]
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_2016-2017 2016 - 2017 Math Circle Page]
[[Image:LW361A.jpg]]
 
[[Image:kite and dart.gif]]
 
  
 +
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_Abstracts_2016-2017 2016 - 2017 Abstracts]
  
====Speaker: [http://www.math.wisc.edu/~strenner/balazs/Home.html Balazs Strenner]====
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_2015-2016 2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page]
Balazs is a first year PhD student originally from Hungary, land of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C5%91s many] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Szilard fantastic] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann mathematicians and scientists]. Balazs is quite merciless as the Deputy Sheriff in the card game [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bang! Bang!]
 
  
----
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Math_Circle_de_Madison_2015-2016 2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page (Spanish)]
  
===Face Recognition===
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Madison_Math_Circle_Abstracts_2015-2016 2015 - 2015 Abstracts]
<span style="background:#00FF00">April 28th, 2011</span>
 
  
'''Invariant-Based Face Recognition'''
+
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Archived_Math_Circle_Material The way-back archives]
  
I shall describe the main difficulties with automated face recognition and how our team of mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists overcame some of them by using mathematical invariants.  
+
==Link for presenters (in progress)==
 +
[https://www.math.wisc.edu/wiki/index.php/Math_Circle_Presentations  Advice For Math Circle Presenters]
  
What are invariants? Invariants are features that do not change under 3D rotation and translation. An example is the curvatures at the tip of the nose. These curvatures do not change, regardless of what angle you look at the face from. The problem though in practice is that curvatures are very sensitive to small changes in the measurements used to compute them, so that simply rounding of the measurements can lead to very different, not invariant numbers.
+
[http://www.geometer.org/mathcircles/ Sample Talk Ideas/Problems from Tom Davis]
  
For this reason, invariants have been rejected in the past for recognizing faces because they were not robust to measurement error, and so we decided to come up with a new family of robust invariants. I shall report how our implementation of this won us 2nd place in the 3D section of the national Face Recognition Grand Challenge.
+
[https://www.mathcircles.org/activities Sample Talks from the National Association of Math Circles]
  
====Speaker: [http://www.math.wisc.edu/~boston Professor Nigel Boston]====
+
[https://epdf.pub/circle-in-a-box715623b97664e247f2118ddf7bec4bfa35437.html "Circle in a Box"]
Nigel Boston is a Professor in the Departments of Mathematics and Electrical & Computer Engineering at UW-Madison. Nigel works in many interesting areas, including applying research from algebra and number theory to real world problems in engineering.
 

Latest revision as of 09:37, 8 November 2021

Logo.png

For the site in Spanish, visit Math Circle de Madison

COVID-19 Update

We are back to in person talks during the Fall 2021 semester.

As is the university's policy, all participants must wear masks. We will make every effort to maintain social distancing where possible.

What is a Math Circle?

The Madison Math Circle is a weekly series of mathematically based activities aimed at interested middle school and high school students. It is an outreach program organized by the UW Math Department. Our goal is to provide a taste of exciting ideas in math and science. In the past we've had talks about plasma and weather in outer space, video game graphics, and encryption. In the sessions, students (and parents) are often asked to explore problems on their own, with the presenter facilitating a discussion. The talks are independent of one another, so new students are welcome at any point.

The level of the audience varies quite widely, including a mix of middle school and high school students, and the speakers generally address this by considering subjects that will be interesting for a wide range of students.


MathCircle 2.jpg MathCircle 4.jpg


After each talk we'll have pizza provided by the Mathematics Department, and students will have an opportunity to mingle and chat with the speaker and with other participants, to ask questions about some of the topics that have been discussed, and also about college, careers in science, etc.

The Madison Math Circle was featured in Wisconsin State Journal: check it out!

All right, I want to come!

We usually have a weekly meeting, Monday at 6pm in 3255 Helen C White Library, during the school year. New students are welcome at any point! There is no fee and the talks are independent of one another, so you can just show up any week, but we ask all participants to take a moment to register by following the link below:

Math Circle Registration Form

All of your information is kept private, and is only used by the Madison Math Circle organizer to help run the Circle.

If you are a student, we hope you will tell other interested students about these talks, and speak with your parents or with your teacher about organizing a car pool to the UW campus. If you are a parent or a teacher, we hope you'll tell your students about these talks and organize a car pool to the UW (all talks take place in 3255 Helen C White Library, on the UW-Madison campus, right next to the Memorial Union).


Meetings for Fall 2021

Fall 2021
Date Speaker Topic
September 20th Daniel Erman Number Games

We’ll play some math-based games and then try to understand some of the patterns we observe.

September 27th Evan Sorensen The fastest way to travel between two points

Given two points, we know the shortest distance between the points is a straight line. But is that always true? We will talk about how to build the best track for a toy car to travel between two points. We’ll start by trying a few different options together and having a race. We’ll then talk about how two brothers thought about how to solve this problem using interesting examples from physics.

October 4th Yandi Wu Do you wanna build a donut?

Topology is a field of math that deals with studying spaces. This math circle talk is an introduction to a concept in topology called “cut-and-paste” topology, which is named that way because we will build spaces out of cutting and gluing pieces of paper.

October 11th Ivan Aidun Words, Words, Words

We'll play a game where you have to guess a secret word that I choose. We'll figure out how to use logic to improve our guesses. Then, we'll explore some questions like: is there a best way to guess? or, what happens when I change the rules slightly?

October 18th Allison Byars Sheep and Wolves

In this math circle talk, we'll look at placing sheep and wolves on a grid so that none of the sheep get eaten. We'll find different arrangements and try to figure out the maximum number which can be placed on a board of given size and generalize it for an arbitrary board. We will also discuss how this relates to a field of mathematics called combinatorics.

October 25th Jacob C Denson Proofs in Three Bits or Less

How many questions does it take to beat someone at Guess Who? How long should it take for you to figure out how to get to this math talk from your house? How many questions do you have to ask your classmate before you know they're telling the truth to you? Let's eat some pizza, and talk about how mathematicians might reason about these problems.

November 1st Qin Li How do we describe the world?

The physical world consists of everything from small systems of a few atoms to large systems of billions of billions of molecules. Mathematicians use different languages and equations to describe large and small systems. Question is: How does mother nature use different languages for different systems and scales? Let us see what these languages look like, talk about their connections and differences, and see how they are reflected in our day-to-day life.

November 8th John Yin River Crossings

Here's a classic puzzle: A farmer needs to move a wolf, a sheep, and a box of cabbages across a river. He has a boat that can fit only one object other than himself. However, when left alone, the wolf will eat the sheep, and the sheep will eat the cabbages. How can the farmer move the wolf, the sheep, and the box of cabbages across the river without anything being eaten? I will discuss this problem by connecting it to graph theory, then give a generalization.

November 15th Erik Bates How big is a cartographer’s crayon box?

Have a look at a world map. If you are looking at one with borders and colors, notice that no border has the same color on both sides. That is, no neighboring countries are colored the same. So how many different colors are needed to make this possible? Does the answer change for a map of the U.S., when we try to color its fifty states? What about a map of Wisconsin with its 72 counties? We will explore these questions---and uncover some very deep mathematics---by doing the simplest and most soothing activity: coloring.

November 22nd Robert Walker Lagrange's Four Square Sum Theorem

How many perfect squares are needed to represent each nonnegative integer n as a sum of perfect squares? This talk will answer that precise question -- students will get to the bottom of this.

Directions and parking

Our meetings are held on the 3rd floor of Helen C. White Hall in room 3255.

Helencwhitemap.png

Parking. Parking on campus is rather limited. Here is as list of some options:

Email list

The best way to keep up to date with the what is going is by signing up for our email list. Please add your email in the form: Join Email List

Contact the organizers

The Madison Math Circle is organized by a group of professors and graduate students from the Department of Mathematics at the UW-Madison. If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the organizers here. We are always interested in feedback!


and Caitlin Davis, Connor Simpson, and Ivan Aidun.

Donations

Please consider donating to the Madison Math Circle. Our main costs consist of pizza and occasional supplies for the speakers. So far our costs have been covered by donations from the UW Mathematics Department as well as a generous gifts from private donors. The easiest way to donate is to go to the link:

Online Donation Link

There are instructions on that page for donating to the Math Department. Be sure and add a Gift Note saying that the donation is intended for the "Madison Math Circle"! The money goes into the Mathematics Department Annual Fund and is routed through the University of Wisconsin Foundation, which is convenient for record-keeping, etc.

Alternately, you can bring a check to one of the Math Circle Meetings. If you write a check, be sure to make it payable to the "WFAA" and add the note "Math Circle Donation" on the check.

Or you can make donations in cash, and we'll give you a receipt.

Help us grow!

If you like Math Circle, please help us continue to grow! Students, parents, and teachers can help by:

  • Like our Facebook Page and share our events with others!
  • Posting our flyer at schools or anywhere that might have interested students.
  • Discussing the Math Circle with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others.
  • Making an announcement about Math Circle at PTO meetings.
  • Donating to Math Circle.

Contact the organizers if you have questions or your own ideas about how to help out.

Useful Resources

Archived Abstracts

2020 - 2021 Abstracts

2019 - 2020 Abstracts

2016 - 2017 Math Circle Page

2016 - 2017 Abstracts

2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page

2015 - 2016 Math Circle Page (Spanish)

2015 - 2015 Abstracts

The way-back archives

Link for presenters (in progress)

Advice For Math Circle Presenters

Sample Talk Ideas/Problems from Tom Davis

Sample Talks from the National Association of Math Circles

"Circle in a Box"