Julia Robinson Mathematics Festivals inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem-solving.
A comfortable familiarity with mathematical concepts enriches an individual's experiences in the world just as the ability to read opens the mind to unlimited possibilities.
JRMF’s vision is to inspire a life-long curiosity for mathematics by instilling a genuine interest in creative problem-solving from an early age. The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festivals allow young people to develop their talent for mathematics by providing problems, puzzles, and activities that are intriguing and accessible. Our focus is on creating a collaborative, non-competitive atmosphere to explore the joys and power of mathematics. JRMF aspires to reach a diverse audience with the goal of broadening society's appreciation and support of mathematics.
We believe that developing students' interest in mathematics and enjoyment of problem solving will broaden their outlook and enhance their contributions to society, whatever their chosen career path.
Who We Are
Recreational math enthusiast Nancy Blachman, founder of Google Guide and author of several books on the popular algebra system Mathematica, founded the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival because "I wanted to inspire students as I had been inspired, with engaging, thought-provoking problems that I found much more interesting, challenging, and fun than the problems I was assigned in school."
The festival is named after the late Julia Robinson, a mathematics professor at the University of California who's best known for her solution of Hilbert's Tenth Problem.
More popular every year since its first event at Google in 2007, the JRMF succeeds because of dedicated mentors, volunteers, and community support. In particular, we're grateful to founding host the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). Starting in 2013, we are partnering with AIM, the American Institute of Mathematics, who provide us with resources and support as we seek to bring the Festival to more kids.
What We Do
The Festival introduces kids to the beauty of mathematics by providing interesting, inspiring, engaging, thought-provoking problems.
How We Started
As a student in middle and high school, Nancy Blachman enjoyed solving math problems with her father. She didn't enjoy the competitive atmosphere and time constraints of most math contests, but was intrigued and inspired by the qualifying problems of the yearly math contest sponsored by Saint Mary's College in Moraga, CA.
As an adult, she found that the Saint Mary's Math Contest no longer existed, but connected with Josh Zucker, a math teacher at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA, who won a book of Saint Mary's Contest problems at a math contest in Los Angeles when he was a high school student. They began to discuss the possibility of starting a new festival that incorporated the features they appreciated in the Saint Mary's Math Contest: the ability to work on problems with others in a non-competitive environment, and a range of problems that started off easy and rose to a level that would challenge advanced students.
As discussions progressed, Google offered to host a Festival, as did Pixar. The first Festival was at Google in 2007; today most Festivals are hosted by schools and universities.
Wildly popular, the Festivals fill up rapidly and expose tens of thousands of students to fun and interesting math problems.