Books and Articles

"Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem"
by Robert Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan
Buy at Barnes & Noble Online!

Buy at IndieBound!

Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err is Human
by Michael and Ellen Kaplan

"Out of the Labyrinth: Setting Mathematics Free"
by Robert Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan

"Chances Are . . . : Adventures in Probability"
by Ellen Kaplan and Michael Kaplan

"The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics"
by Robert and Ellen Kaplan

more books...


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Disturbed by the poor quality and low level of math education in the country, three of us began The Math Circle in September 1994...



Our courses are located on the campus of Harvard University. [learn more...]

The Math Circle

This is the home page of The Math Circle, a program of courses founded in 1994, designed for students who enjoy math and want the added challenge of exciting topics that are normally outside the school curriculum. Its teachers are experienced, committed, and enthusiastic. Our classes encourage a free discussion of ideas; while the courses are mathematically rigorous, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed.

Fall 2014-Spring 2015 Schedule Information is available!

The Math Circle is delighted to announce that it has received $50,000 from the Flom Family Foundation. This very generous grant will be used to establish a pilot Math Studio in South Bend, Indiana.

The intention is to spread The Math Circle's approach more broadly in a community by establishing a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience the exhilaration of mathematical exploration. Although some students may first come to get homework help, the Studio will provide participants with pathways to deeper engagement in mathematics. Sympathetic mentors will help them overcome obstacles and foster their love of mathematics, as they gain confidence with their growing competence in a non-competitive, collegial, conversational atmosphere.

This pilot program, run by Amanda Serenevy, will allow us to test our techniques, iron out problems, and see how to develop Math Circle Studios and Drop-In Centers across the country.

Math Circle Summer Teacher Training Institute

We will hold our eighth Math Circle Summer Teacher Training Institute on the Campus of Notre Dame, in South Bend Indiana, from June 27th to July 1st, 2016.

We will have demonstrations of our approach, practice sessions in running Math Circles, discussions of theory and practice, and conversations about selected math topics. Participants will work with children in 1st through 12th grades each afternoon to try out their own Math Circle ideas.

Tuition is $850 for the week, room and board included.

Inquiries can be made by e-mail to

Our Philosophy

"What you have been obliged to discover
by yourself leaves a path in your mind
which you can use again when the need
arises."    --G. C. Lichtenberg

[learn more...]

Recent Courses



  • Are There Numbers Between Numbers?
  • Probability
  • The Pythagorean Theorem
  • Continued Fractions
  • Random Walks
  • Graph Theory

Our classes begin with a free discussion of ideas and play of invention around a developing problem; then - once insight blossoms - we link this insight formally to axioms, aiming for elegance and clarity. While the courses are mathematically rigorous, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. We want our students to feel free to express their ideas, to suggest their own approaches, and to make mistakes. We work in a spirit of friendship, cooperation, and enjoyment of one another.

Where are our courses located?


Problems of the Week

If you like mulling over questions like these, or more exciting research problems in good company, join us at The Math Circle.