Gateway to Exploring Mathematical Sciences: CURRENT YEAR: 2017-2018

What is GEMS?

The Gateway to Exploring Mathematical Sciences program (GEMS) is a once monthly, Saturday morning workshop designed to get young students excited about math and science.  GEMS is designed to reach eighth, ninth and tenth grade students who may have an interest in mathematics or science. The workshops present mathematics and science applications in an exciting way that catches young students’ interest from the surrounding areas. Professors, undergraduates and graduate students from each of the six colleges in the Claremont Consortium take part in the GEMS program, thus offering the incoming students, their parents, and teachers a chance to meet and work with the large variety of excellent and award winning faculty, staff, students and alumni at the Claremont Colleges. The GEMS program helps excite the interests and curiosity of young students and shows them how amazing and satisfying the mathematical sciences can be.


GEMS is grateful to the Edison International Foundation for financial support for the events this semester

To learn more about Edison International visit this link:

*Participants limited to 70 and pre-registration is required.   



LOCATION CHANGE FOR FEB, MARCH, AND APRIL:  Experienced participants, please not the change of venue: we are no longer meeting in the Drucker Building. We will meet this semester at the Beckman Auditorium, Olin Science Center, on the Harvey Mudd campus. Olin is the building on the HMC campus at its western end, on Dartmouth Avenue just below Foothill Blvd.  See (click the 'Academic and Administrative' option under the Locations tab, then select "Beckman Hall (basement level)"). To access Beckman, enter Olin from Dartmouth in the middle of the block below Foothill, go up the steps through the main doors. Then it is immediately down the stairs to Beckman. There is no parking on that block , but there is on the next block south, and on the cross street , which is 12th St.

Parking:  Participants can park on any of the surrounding streets, as visitor parking is limited at Harvey Mudd College.

Program Format : The Saturday morning workshops begin at 10:00 and go through to 12:00 noon. They typically begin with a forty-five minute presentation by a professor, then a break with a snack, followed by a forty-five minute breakout session, in which students in small groups conduct their own hands-on personal exploration. Each breakout group consists of approximately six to eight students and is assisted by the colleges' undergraduate and graduate students. The breakout sessions are followed by group presentations, posters, explanations, and discussion.

Transportation for the young students is provided by the respective school districts (bus, van, carpooling by parents, teachers, etc) or personal transportation and the site for the 2016-2017 GEMS program is in the Drucker Building on Claremont Graduate University's campus (see directions above).  Registration is open and free of charge to all students in the eighth, ninth and tenth grades. Because each session is independent from the other sessions, a student may choose to participate in one workshop, or all of the workshops. However once a student has experienced one session, it is unlikely he or she will want to miss a single one.


2017-2018 Year


Fall 2017 Dates

April 22 at 10 AM
(Pre-register here:
Location: Beckman Auditorium, Olin Science Center, on the Harvey Mudd campus
Speaker: Professor Darryl Yong, Harvey Mudd College

Topic: Mathematics is Alive! A Recent Breakthrough in Geometry

Abstract: This hands-on presentation will involve learning about a relatively recent

discovery in geometry having to do with how to cut out shapes efficiently
by folding paper in a certain way.  Come and be ready learn and explore

some fun mathematics!
March 25 at 10 AM
 Pre-register here:
Location: Beckman Auditorium, Olin Science Center, on the Harvey Mudd campus

Speaker: Jemma Lorenat, Pitzer College

Topic: The Fourth Dimension of Space
February 25th at 10 AM
Pre-register here:
Location: Beckman Auditorium, Olin Science Center, on the Harvey Mudd campus
Speaker: Adolfo Rumbos, Pomona College

Topic: Mathematics of Optimal Shape

Abstract: Take a string of a given length and tie it at both ends; it then becomes a loop. Lay the loop flat on a table. Notice that the loop encloses a plane region. Ask yourself the question, “What shape should the loop take so that the region that it encloses has the largest possible area?” This question has been answered by the ancients. In this workshop we use algebra, geometry and logical reasoning to answer questions like this one. For instance, we can take the same loop and make it into a rectangle. Note that all the rectangles that we can form have the same perimeter. We ask the questions, “Out of all of those rectangles, which one has the largest possible area?” We will answer this question and related questions in this workshop.

Fall 2016 Dates


October 1st Event, 10 AM

Drucker Building, CGU, room 12 (Just down the hall in the same building)

Address: 1021 N Dartmouth Avenue Claremont CA 91711 

Speaker: Blake Hunter

Topic: Walking OutbreakUsing Dice and Mathematics to Model the Spread of a Disease

Abstract: This project uses dice and mathematics to model the spread of disease. As survivors of an zombie virus epidemic you are exploring the world with other survivors. After one survivor becomes infected, the disease starts to spread through the population. Can the disease be isolated or will the zombie virus take over the world? Using some mathematical logic, probability and exponential modeling, we will analysis the outbreak and come up with a plan to try and stop the epidemic. 


November 5th Event, 10 AM

Speaker: Judy Grabiner

Topic: The most powerful principle in mathematics meets the odds in a Native American game

Abstract: This session will explore the "multiplication principle," the most powerful principle in finite mathematics. We willuse the principle to solve non-obvious problems and model the probabilities in the Native American game of "Dish."  Prepare to learn how to count with out counting, figure out what to expect while gambling, and discover a fun game to bring back home! 


December 10th Event, 10 AM

Speaker: Marina Chugunova

Topic: Geometry of Castles and Forts

Abstract: TBA major feature of most civilizations has been the need to protect themselves from other civilizations and this has led to the building of many castles and forts.How can math help build these in an optimal way?  This talk will discuss many ways to optimize the safety of forts and castles.


Previous Programs

Speaker: Marina Chugunova   Topic: How to catch a liar.

Speaker: Alfonso Castro   Topic: Plane Geometry and Real Numbers

Speaker: Angel Chavez   Topic: Brownian Motion and Random Walks

Speaker: Dr. Jemma Lorenat   Topic: Inescapable Logic

Speaker:  Shanda Nelson Topic: Symmetry 

Speaker: Shahriar Shariari   Topic:  Can you make a soccer ball using only 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons? How about with 13 pentagons and 12 hexagons? 

Speaker: Blake Hunter   Topic: Matheematics of Tessellations 

And many more since 2008...


GEMSspring2015.pdf1.61 MB