Why We Are | National Math Festival
Children in large floor activity

Why We Are

June 8, 2020

Dear National Math Festival-goers,

Math is a fully human enterprise, and as such, the National Math Festival is the co-creation of many partnerships on the personal and organizational levels. You are hearing today from one of these partnerships, David and Kirsten, who among other things fashion the program we present every other spring in this joyous celebration of the beauty, fun, and power of math in everyday life. It is always our pleasure to surprise you.

When we invite speakers, performers, authors, math organizations, to share with you, we consider many things with care: Can this person / this organization speak to kids and adults of many different backgrounds and levels of preparation in math? Are they likely to excite others with their passion? Will they be a force for social unity to help bring about a culture shift in which math becomes playful, powerful, relevant, interesting – and mine?

A sense of belonging in math is what we aim to produce. We hope you see yourself reflected in the program of the 2021 National Math Festival. At this moment of wider cultural inflection in which collective consciousness is evolving rapidly, our intention is to participate joyfully, and clearly, in making a stronger world which is more human-centered, playful, admiring of children of all ages. The world we want to see needs more people of all ages and races and life experiences to understand they are mathematics: mathematics is their birthright and their practice.

Math threads through the world, everything we love about it, and how it can take us places we never knew. So we hope you will join us, when the time comes, to hear Brittney Morris read from her teen gaming novel Slay; and Candice Price describe the ‘face’ of mathematics; and jump in when Professor Lyrical invites you to create a math rap on the fly; and bring your stories when Maisha Moses and James Tanton convene a conversation about math and prisons.

If our aim is culture change, we are in it together with you. We hope you are, in the words of a friend, “struggling and thriving all at once” in these high-energy, swirling times as we all learn new steps together. We are honored to be walking with you in this unfolding math journey.

With love,

Signatures of David and Kirsten

David and Kirsten

Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)