People who do and use mathematics often have fascinating stories and adventures to tell related to their work; and partly because their work itself is often hard for non-mathematicians to comprehend, these stories can have a special interest. Sometimes mathematicians' experiences are as unusual as those of the homeless but much-loved and celebrated Paul Erdős; sometimes their adventures are as unusual as astronaut Michael Foale's rescuing of the Mir space station.
- Math Documentaries by Zala Films
- Short Films about MSRI
- AMS/MSRI Congressional Briefings
- Critical Issues in Mathematics Education
- Finding Common Ground Math Education Forum
- May 12 Celebration of Women in Mathematics
- Presentations from the National Math Festival (Washington, D.C.)
- Act from Thought: The Case for Basic Science Research
- Not on the Test Public Lecture Series
- New Horizons in Undergraduate Mathematics
- Symposium on Global Warming
- MSRI Biology Colloquium
- Other Special Events and Public Lectures
- MSRI Academic Sponsors Day
Math Documentaries by Zala Films
- Rent or Purchase Digital Video on Demand
- Order Blu-Ray/DVD or arrange a public screening at Zala Films
Filmed in Canada, Iran, and the United States, Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani examines the life and mathematical work of Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian immigrant to the United States who became a superstar in her field. In 2014, she was both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored by mathematics’ highest prize, the Fields Medal. Mirzakhani’s contributions are explained in the film by leading mathematicians and illustrated by animated sequences. Her mathematical colleagues from around the world, as well as former teachers, classmates, and students in Iran today, convey the deep impact of her achievements. The path of her education, success on Iran’s Math Olympiad team, and her brilliant work, make Mirzakhani an ideal role model for girls looking toward careers in science and mathematics.
- Counting from Infinity - Bonus Material (view online)
Taking the Long View: The Life of Shiing-shen Chern (2011)
In The Right Spin, Foale provides his personal account of the experience, and explains the mathematical methods involved in rescuing Mir from what would almost certainly have been its demise had they been forced to evacuate and leave it tumbling without power until it burned up re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. Production of this film was made possible with support from the Clay Mathematics Institute, MSRI, and the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics.
Short Films about MSRI
17 Gauss Way from MSRI on Vimeo.
AMS/MSRI Congressional Briefings
The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides the majority of funding for the basic research necessary to unlock the enormous potential applications of the mathematical sciences. AMS and MSRI appreciate the NSF’s farsighted commitment to this investment.
To view videos from these briefings, visit the Congressional Briefings page.
Critical Issues in Mathematics Education
- April 2021: Initiating, Sustaining, and Researching Mathematics Department Transformation of Introductory Courses for STEM Majors
- March - May 2020: Today’s Mathematics, Social Justice, and Implications for Schools
- March 2019: Mathematical Modeling in K-16: Community and Cultural Contexts
- February 2018: Access to Mathematics by Opening Doors for Students Currently Excluded from Mathematics
February 2017: Observing for Access, Power, and Participation in Mathematics Classrooms as a Strategy to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning
- February 2016: Observing, Evaluating and Improving Mathematics Teaching from the Early Grades through the University
- April 2015: Developmental Mathematics: For whom? Toward what ends?
- April 2014: The Role of the Mathematics Department in the Mathematical Preparation of Teachers
April 2013: Assessment of Mathematical Proficiencies in the Age of the Common Core
March 2012: Teacher Education in View of the Common Core
May 2011: Mathematical Education of Teachers (Videos also available via YouTube)
June 2010: Reasoning and Sense-Making in the Math Curriculum
- May 2009: Teaching Undergraduates Mathematics
- May 2008: Teaching and Learning Algebra
- May 2007: Teaching Teachers Mathematics
- May 2006: Raising the Floor: Progress and Setbacks in the Struggle for Quality Mathematics Education for All
- May 2005: The Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (K-8): Why, What and How?
- March 2004: Assessing Students' Mathematical Learning Issues, Costs and Benefits
May 12 Celebration of Women in Mathematics
The Celebration of Women in Mathematics on May 12 is part of an international initiative to inspire women everywhere to celebrate their achievements in mathematics, and to encourage an open, welcoming, and inclusive work environment for everybody. May 12 was chosen for this annual event, as it is the birthdate of Fields medalist Maryam Mirzakhani. Since 2019, MSRI has hosted on-site and/or online programming to showcase the work of women in mathematics.
Video from the 2021 online event:
Act from Thought: The Case for Basic Science Research
- On the Job Market: Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank
- The Miracle Machine: Eric Lander, co-chair of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and one of the architects of the Human Genome Project
- Roger A. Strauch and Charles Simonyi in Conversation
Presentations from the National Math Festival
The National Math Festival brings together some of the most fascinating mathematicians of our time to inspire and challenge all ages to see math in new and unexpected ways. Organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and the National Museum of Mathematics, this free, public event for all ages takes place every other year in Washington, D.C., although 2021 Festival activites took place online due to the ongoing pandemic. You can experience the Festival through these recorded presentations and other videos featuring many of the mathematicians who have participated in these events. These videos are intended for a general audience and cover a wide variety of topics, from the mathematics behind scientific and natural phenomena to art, music, literature, and more. (Please note: math talks at the 2019 Festival were not recorded.)
- Videos from the 2021 National Math Festival
- Highlights from the 2019 National Math Festival on Numberphile2
- Videos from the 2017 National Math Festival
- Videos from the 2015 National Math Festival
Sample 2021 Festival math talk:
2021 National Math Festival - "Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus" with Dr. Steven Strogatz from MSRI / National Math Festival on Vimeo.
Finding Common Ground Math Education Forum
Leading voices in the math education profession came together in Washington, D.C. in April 2015 to discuss college and career-readiness standards and mathematics teacher preparation and licensing. The forum, co-sponsored by MSRI and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), shared best practices and next steps regarding implementation of standards across states.
- Deborah Lowenberg Ball: Teaching as Professional Work
- William McCallum: "Standards and Curriculum: What's the Difference?"
- Deborah Loewenberg Ball: "Teaching as Professional Work"
Not on the Test: The Pleasure and Uses of Mathematics
March 9, 2016: "Knots and DNA", Mariel Vazquez, University of California, Davis
- February 24, 2016: "Black Girls Code", Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls CODE
- September 16, 2015: "Internet Voting: Wishful Thinking?", Barbara Simons, Verified Voting
- March 18, 2015: "Universal Access to All Knowledge", Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive
February 11, 2015: "Making Music Socially: A Story of People and Technology in the 21st Century", Madeline Huberth and Ge Wang, Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk)
November 5, 2014: "I'm in the Database (But Nobody Knows)", Cynthia Dwork, Microsoft Research
- October 22, 2014: "Search Engines Through the Ages", Anna Patterson, Google
New Horizons in Undergraduate Mathematics
Symposium on Global Warming: From Global Predictions to Local Action
- April 11, 2007: Public Symposium held at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
- April 12-13, 2007: Scientific Symposium
MSRI Biology Colloquium
- For a listing of all talks and their videos for our Biology Colloquium series, please see the Biology Colloquium page.
Other Special Events and Public Lectures
- December 11, 2020 - CME Group - MSRI-Prize 2019 Winner Dr. Susan Athey interview with Dr. Paul Milgrom
- April 10, 2018 - Mark Mitton: Math, Magic, and Surprise (at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco)
- October 4, 2016 - Sir Roger Penrose What We All Need to Know About Physics (at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco)
- April 20, 2015 - Cédric Villani: The Living Art of Mathematics (at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco)
- October 26, 2014 - Celebration of Mind 2014: Honoring the 100th Anniversary of Martin Gardner’s Birthday (featuring David Eisenbud, Elwyn Berlekamp, Joe Buhler, Don Knuth, John Railing, and Cliff Stoll)
- May 2, 2014 - Nate Silver In Conversation with Jordan Ellenberg (at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco)
- April 25, 2014 - Barry Mazur: A Lecture On Primes
Dec 17, 2013 - Cédric Villani: Of Triangles, Gas, Prices and Men
- March 4, 2013 - Emily Shuckburgh: Climate Disruption: What Math and Science Have to Say (part of MSRI and the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013)
- October 3, 2011 - Robert Osserman and James Simons: From Math to Market and Back: A conversation with James Simons, founder of the fabled Medallion Fund
- June 2, 2010 - Opening Program of the Joint Meeting of the AMS & SMM, American Mathematical Society & Sociedad Matemática Mexicana
- January 26, 2008 - Christopher Taylor, David Benson, Robert Osserman, MSRI 25th Anniversary Special Event: Christopher Taylor in conversation with David Benson and Robert Osserman
- January 17, 2008 - Alan Alda and Robert Osserman, M*A*T*H: Alan Alda in conversation with Bob Osserman
- May 17 to May 18, 2007 - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presents Gulliver Multiscale Bioimaging Workshop
- March 25, 2006 - Robbert Dijkgraaf, The Quantum Geometry of String Theory
- March 6, 2006 - Sir Roger Penrose, Twistor Theory, Old and New
- March 5, 2006 - Sir Roger Penrose, Fashion, Faith and Fantasy in Modern Physical Theory
- March 3, 2006 - Chern Hall Dedication, Matmos in Concert, A Musical Enigma; Matmos Meets Turing
- March 2, 2006 - Sir Roger Penrose, Simons Auditorium Inaugural Lecture: Before the Big Bang
- September 22, 2005 - Richard Tapia, A Lifetime of Diversity: Challenges, Successes and Rewards
- September 22, 2005 - Richard Tapia, On Sizing and Shifting the BFGS Update within the Sized-Broyden Family of Secant Updates
- December 15, 2002 - Funny Numbers: An Evening with Steve Martin in conversation with Bob Osserman
- Spring 1999 - Tom Stoppard in conversation with Robert Osserman, Mathematics in Arcadia
- March 19, 1997 - T.Y. Lam, Irving Kaplansky, Tom Lehrer and others, Irving "Kap" Kaplansky's 80th Birthday Celebration
- December 1994 - Bernd Sturmfels, Twenty-First Holiday Symposium: Gröbner Bases and Convex Polytopes
- July 28, 1993 - Fermat's Last Theorem - The Theorem and Its Proof: An Exploration of Issues and Ideas
Committee on Academic Sponsors Day Presentations
February 28, 2014 - Discussion on Distance Learning
- March 2, 2012 – Peter Winkler, Overhang (PPT)
- March 4, 2011 - Preparing Graduate Students to Teach (PDF)