History of Math Circle
Translated by Joon-hyuk Chang 2012/2013 KGSEA Math circle
‘Math Circle’ was created thanks to an unexpected opportunity.
While introducing AMC to Korea, I met many talented Korean students. In addition, I became firm in my belief that these students’ excellent abilities will shine brighter only if the students experience Team Play. The first step of Team Play began at HMMT.In 2010, KGSEA’s consultant Dr. James Choi and I first selected the Korean representative team to participate in HMMT. During that process,
I learned many lessons. As I watched the selection process of the representative students and the students’ participation in HMMT, I attained a better understanding of Korean students’ advantages and disadvantages. During the winter of the same year, I decided to introduce ARML to Korea.
Introducing ARML was not easy. Many discussions regarding the time difference and the prestige of the contest had to take place, which demanded a great amount of time and effort. As the possibilities for participating in ARML were opening up in November, 2011, I led Korean students to participate in WMTC, which was held in China.
There, I met Prof. Quan Lam, who was the co-founder of WMTC and the person in charge of the International Divison of ARML. After WMTC was over, he visited Korea in March, 2012 and had lengthy discussions with me. He invited me to A(I)RML Onsite Tour, which was held in the United States in June, 2012.
While I was visiting ARML in the United States, six high school students in Korea were invited to IRML Offsite. This served as the test stage for further team competitions. I finally had an accurate understanding of why team play was necessary after I participated in A(I)RML at the United States in 2012. Meeting the professors, coaches, and students, I was greatly surprised with the way the contest was run, which was very different from those of Korean competitions.
Then I understood that the Math Circle was behind the development of contests like ARML.
I felt the passion of the American professors and leaders I met there; the language barrier was no impediment. The period of one week I spent there presented me new possibilities. I believed that the expectation I felt would not turn into disappointment.
Inside the plane heading back to Korea, I started ruminating about how to share the same passion with Korean students. After a few days passed since I began pondering, I received pleasant news from the students who participated in 2012 IRML Offsite and their parents. They informed me how much they appreciated the special time they had at the contest, and they told me they wanted to have such opportunities continuously.
“OK. Then let’s try introducing Math Circle to Korea. However, instead of delivering lectures, let’s help students find how to plan and research by themselves.” That was what I decided. In July, 2012, the students were ready to start their first project: a publication for younger students preparing for AMC 8.
If they had not shared the passion or expressed their thankfulness to me, Math Circle certainly could not have taken roots in Korea.
Until August 2013, when about one year had passed, the students and I experienced much more trials and errors than we originally anticipated, trying to understand what preparation would be necessary for Math Circle. However, through these trials and errors, we learned how to overcome hardships and gained the belief that Math Circle has a great potential for even further development.
I would like express my gratitude to the large number of thankful people who indicated the path KGSEA Math Circle can proceed upon. Without their ardor, this journal would not exist.
Director of KGSEA
Translated by Jun-hyuk Chang 2012/2013 KGSEA Math circle