Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

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Math & Cultural

Celebration of Mind 2016: Math, Magic, Puzzles, & Games October 23, 2016 (01:00 PM PDT - 04:00 PM PDT)
Parent Program: --
Location: MSRI: Simons Auditorium, Baker Board Room, Commons Room, Atrium

Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)
17 Gauss Way, Berkeley, CA 94720 (Directions)

Come celebrate math with puzzles, games, magic, stories, and more! Kids ages 8 and up, and grown-ups who are kids at heart, will enjoy this afternoon filled with hands-on math activities.

The event honors the life and work of Martin Gardner, former Scientific American columnist who inspired a generation of mathematicians and recreational math enthusiasts. In the spirit of Martin Gardner's love of Alice in Wonderland and with Halloween around the corner, come "down the rabbit hole" and explore with us!

This event is free and open to the public! Questions? Contact Jennifer Murawski at jmurawski@msri.org. 


Registration is requested, but not required. Click here to sign up and receive a reminder email!

2016 Event Schedule

All events take place inside MSRI.


  • 1:30 - 2:00 p.m. - Sneak Math + Music Preview of "Peace Comes to the Unusual Kingdoms"
  • 2:15 - 2:30 p.m. - Cliff Stoll shares some of his recent creations!
  • 3:15 - 4:00 p.m. - Mark Mitton, Magician


1:00 - 4:00 p.m. - California Math Festival (2nd floor Baker Board Room)

1:00 - 3:15 p.m. - Hands-on Math Activities (1st floor Atrium, Hearst Library)

Ongoing (Times posted at door) - Mathical Books Read-Aloud (1st floor Hearst Library)

Featured Guests

Mark Mitton is a professional magician who is fascinated by using magic to better understand how we see the world. In addition to performing at private and corporate events all over the world, and creating magic for film, television, the Broadway stage, and Cirque du Soleil, Mark tirelessly explores the theme of ‘Misdirection’ from an interdisciplinary standpoint. He regularly presents on ‘Perception’ at universities and conferences in North America and Europe, including the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, and has lectured with the late Nobel laureate Dr. Gerald Edelman of The Neurosciences Institute. 

Mark was the apprentice to legendary sleight-of-hand master and vaudevillian Slydini, and a long-time student of Ozzie Malini – the son of turn-of-the-century magician Max Malini. He has performed for Mick Jagger, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, John Mayer, Katy Perry, Salman Rushdie, Sienna Miller, Mark Messier, Sting, Sylvester Stallone, and many others; at festivals in Europe and Asia; at the Olympic Games; in war-torn Liberia; in hospital wards around New York City; and in a Mexican orphanage with members of the band Guster. His magical hands are featured in a They Might Be Giants video, and he appears in Tony Oursler’s latest video project ‘Imponderable’, in which he plays both Oursler’s grandfather Fulton Oursler and Harry Houdini. (Learn more)

Cliff Stoll: Familiar to many East Bay residents, Cliff Stoll can be found engaging with math lovers of all ages with his Acme Klein Bottles, many appearances on YouTube's Numberphile channel, and his boundless energy to share his passion for math and science with the world.

Peace Comes to the Unusual Kingdoms: Many people are familiar with "Peter and the Wolf", the musical symphony written in 1936 by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev to invite children to learn more about orchestras. In the same spirit, MSRI trustee Jeff Goodby has teamed with composer Jack Perla to write "Peace Comes to the Unusual Kingdoms", a new children's musical symphony that explores the connections between music and math! It will have its world premiere later this month by the Oakland Symphony, led by another MSRI Trustee, Maestro Michael Morgan.

Other Activities

The California Mathematics Festival: Hands-on fun for students in grades K-8! The Festival consists of 12 to 18 different highly interactive problem solving activity stations where students use everything from blocks and beans to laptop computers to solve tasks. The whole family can enjoy an opportunity to enjoy mathematics together and learn about the mathematics their children study at school. (Learn more)

Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens: 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. These titles are as varied as the intersection between literature and mathematics — that is to say, they encompass picture books, novels, poetry collections, puzzle books, biographies, and more! Join us for read-alouds for younger children and families, while older kids can explore the full collection of Mathical Award Winners and Mathical Honor Books in our library. (Learn more)

Hands-On Math Activities: From mathematical paper crafts, games, and puzzles, there's lots to try and enjoy for kids and families. Activities are presented by the Elwyn and Jennifer Berklekamp FoundationStan Isaacs (College of San Mateo) and MSRI staff and friends. Want to get in the spirit early? Try this Vanishing Cheshire Cat activity.


Parking & Transportation

Parking is free on weekends in the "MSRI Only Parking" lot level above the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lots (enter from Cenntential Drive), as well as around the Silver Space Sciences Laboratory buildings above MSRI. Overflow parking is available in the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lots. A very limited number of handicapped parking spaces are available at the entrance to MSRI. For a map of parking, click here.

To reach MSRI by public transit, take the AC Transit 65 Euclid/Lawrence Hall of Science bus route to the Lawrence Hall of Science, and use the parking lot stairs to reach MSRI. ** Please note that due to the rescheduling of Sunday Streets in downtown Berkeley due to last weekend's rain, the 65 Lawrence Hall of Science bus route has some temporary stop changes.


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Peace Comes to the Unusual Kingdoms

H.264 Video Peace_Comes_to_the_Unusual_Kingdoms_b.mp4 168 MB video/mp4 rtsp://videos.msri.org/data/000/026/895/original/Peace_Comes_to_the_Unusual_Kingdoms_b.mp4 Download