Updates about Mathcamp 2021

Image of the 2021 Year End Report cover

In 2021, for the first time in Mathcamp’s history, we came to the same campus for the second year in a row. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Mathcamp 2021 was again held online, on our custom platform. Once again, it went very well, and—even after students and staff had spent a year going to school online—participants were really engaged. We were honored that campers gave rave reviews!

Five weeks at Virtual Mathcampus and Mathtown: Read our 2021 Year-End Report [PDF].

  • We upgraded our Virtual Mathcampus, and added a new Mathtown. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we built our own platform to host camp: a collaboration between an architect-visual artist, a programmer, and a team of watercolorists. This year, we both upgraded and expanded on that universe. One big addition was a proximity-based video platform, built in Gather.town, that mimicked the layout of Mathcampus but allowed participants to virtually 'wander around,' and to see and hear the people who were in the same 'room.'
  • Images from 2021 Mathtown
  • We brought 112 amazing students from all over the world to Virtual Mathcamp: there were 44 girls, 63 boys and 5 non-binary students. We welcomed back 37 alums, and brought 75 new campers into the community. They came from 26 US states, 3 Canadian provinces, and 7 other countries around the world (Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Indonesia, Poland) – so campers and staff were based on six different continents! (That was a first for us.)
 There had been many things in math that felt like unexplainable magic to me before Mathcamp. After Mathcamp they still seem like magic, but of a different kind of magic – the one you understand and can use to your advantage. 
  • We did so much math! We ran 102 classes taught by 34 different instructors, and 97 campers worked on projects. As always, the classes varied in pace, difficulty and format, and the topics ranged from "Evolution of random graphs" to "Better sleep through modeling" to "Ultra-fantastic ultra filters". (You can read the schedule and descriptions here.) We also included a memorial colloquium honoring the late Alfonso Gracia-Saz, who taught at Mathcamp for many, many summers, and passed away this year due to COVID-19.
  • Image from a 2021 Mathcamp class
  • We ran so many events! We played music at Song Swap, spoke Slavic/Hebrew/Spanish/Chinese/French/(...) at language tables at lunch, made friends during speed and slow friending, toured the world playing GeoGuesser, planked daily, "baked" mug cakes, and solved lots of NYT crosswords. We had to enlarge the schedule board to fit all the signs.
 In the first two weeks, I didn't attend many activities or talk to that many people, but once I got to know some other campers it's surprising how easy it is to become really close friends, even if we aren't in person. 
  • We continued Mathcamp traditions and built an amazing community! Despite the online format, our community once again came up with many creative ways to connect, and the spirit of Mathcamp was present everywhere at camp. We adapted many of our traditions to the virtual format – campers even received physical packages with, among other things, sarongs, markers and blue tape. We also had Mathcamp Halloween, a story-telling event, weekly TPS and Relays, and of course the perennial favorite field trip: a day-long Puzzle Hunt.

Many of our campers keep in touch long after camp ends, and some of the events from this summer are still happening on a regular basis. One of our students wrote about camp: "The only bad thing about Mathcamp is that it ends."

As we look forward to returning to a residential program in 2022, we join our students in saying: thank you to our supporters for helping us to create an amazing Virtual Mathcamp 2021!