History of Math Circles

Math Circles in the United States have been strongly influenced by Math Circle programs developed over the last century in Eastern European countries. These vertically-integrated, informal mathematical communities of practice in which advanced mathematicians guide the exploration of young students were an integral experience of many mathematicians who attended Eastern European schools. As those who had grown up in this system came to the United States, they created similar programs to offer the same type of learning experience to their own students.


Today there are more than 180 active Math Circle programs across the country, with more than 220 Circles formed since 1994. The national Math Circle landscape includes two types of Circles: one for K-12 teachers of mathematics (MTCs) and one for students (MSCs). There are approximately 130 active Math Student Circles across the country, with approximately 8,000 students participating annually.


Interest in Math Circles remains high and continues to grow, with increasing numbers of faculty aiming to start Math Circles at their institutions. Over the past decade, this group has grown into a vibrant community with much potential for future growth.