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National Math Festival


National Math Festival

Saturday, April 22, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

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Tens of thousands joined in the country’s first National Math Festival in Washington, D.C. April 16-18, 2015.

The inaugural event was organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and The Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution.

The celebration featured three days of public and private activities celebrating the importance of math in our lives. 

Great Teachers = Great Students: Building the Profession of Math Teachers in America

Leading members of Congress including Senators Reid, Schumer, Alexander, Franken, Murray, and Leader Pelosi shared remarks on the importance of math education in global leadership. The event featured a high level of awareness and interest in teacher training and professional development programs, including the development of a national STEM Master Teacher Corps.

Finding Common Ground: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, Where We’re Going

Leading voices in the math education profession came together to discuss college and career-readiness standards and mathematics teacher preparation and licensing. The forum,  co-sponsored by MSRI and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), shared best practices and next steps regarding implementation of standards across states.

William McCallum, co-author of the state standards:


Deborah Ball, teacher licensure advocate:

Act from Thought: The Case for Basic Science Research

This gala dinner, chaired by Jim and Marilyn Simons and co-chaired by Roger Strauch and Charles Simonyi, made an eloquent case for the importance of basic science research.

Many governments are currently redirecting money for basic research into more applied areas. Tempting as this is, it risks losing the spectacular payoffs that basic research has provided in the past — and can provide in the future.

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank:


Eric Lander, co-chair of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and one of the architects of the Human Genome Project,on "The Miracle Machine"

Eric Lander and Jim Simons on the beauty of knowledge, and on investments in the social good (in-depth interviews with  Eric Lander and Jim Simons can be found on the Numberphile YouTube channel):

MSRI board chair Roger A. Strauch and IAS board chair Charles Simonyi, both technology entrepreneurs, traded anecdotes about their fathers, both theoretical physicists who knew the importance of basic science research:

Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens

April 2015 marked the first annual awarding of the Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens prize. Awarded by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC), the Mathical Prize recognizes the most inspiring math-related fiction and nonfiction books for youth of all ages.

Selection committee co-chairs are American children’s writer Jon Scieszka (guysread.com, The Math Curse), Rebecca Goldin (Professor, Director of Research at George Mason University, statistician), and Jordan Ellenberg (John D. MacArthur Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the author of the New York Times best-seller How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking), with additional committee members comprised of teachers, librarians, early childhood experts and mathematicians.

The National Math Festival

The National Math Festival is the country’s first national festival dedicated to discovering the delight and power of mathematics in everyday life.

The Festival brought together performances, hands-on demonstrations, lectures, and exhibitions. Events took place at the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden, the S. Dillon Ripley Center, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of African Art, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries. To learn more: www.nationalmathfestival.org

To inquire about sponsorship opportunities, or if you would like to receive regular email updates on the National Math Festival, please contact hfriedman@msri.org.

The National Math Festival returns to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 22, 2017.