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.

We are delighted to say that our familiar Circles have been re-established online. Small groups (sorted by age) meet with their leader, each seeing and talking with all; and as always, the leader no more than posing a deep and exciting question (an accessible mystery) and the students probing it collegially together. They come up with examples, counter-examples, insights and proofs: intense fun. For details, please e-mail

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 tenth Math Circle Summer Teacher Training Institute on the Campus of Notre Dame, in South Bend Indiana, from June 26th to 30th, 2017.

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 $900 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...]

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.