Welcome to the Parallel Universe

Be challenged, get curious, do maths. Stretch your brain every week.

Hello Rookie Mathematician

In order to be reading this page, you must be slightly kooky, by which I mean you are a keen mathematician who is hungry to explore the mathematical universe. The good news is that the Parallel Universe offers two great ways for you to learn some brilliant ideas, stretch your brain and explore the wild west of mathematics.

Parallel maths circles (age guide 10 to 16)

A maths circle is a group of students and a mentor who come together to explore the mathematical universe. Maths circles help to build your curiosity, creativity, logic and tenacity. Face to face maths circles exist all over the world, from California to Mumbai, and Iceland to South Africa, but they are hard to find and are often expensive... however, you can now join the biggest maths circle in the world for free, every week.

We have different Parallel Circles maths circles for different age groups, and each one is led by a so-called Ring Master, someone who is well-known for being a brilliant maths teacher.

Best of all, our maths circles are 100% interactive, so you won’t just watch mathematics, but you will do mathematics. You can answer questions via polls, send us answers in the chat and ask us questions, all live, all in real time.

Parallelogram Puzzles (age guide 11 to 16)

Each Thursday at 3pm (UK time), you will have access to a new set of online mathematical challenges tailored to your age. Each set of challenges is called a Parallelogram. We have been offering these for five years, and students have completed over 1 million Parallelograms.

It should take just 15 to 30 minutes to complete each Parallelogram. If you have not finished a Parallelogram, then you can disappear and return later and find that your previous answers will have been saved.

As soon as you hit the SUBMIT button, you will be able to see the answers as well as your score. Most importantly of all, make sure you go through the solution sheet and try to learn from your mistakes.

Score points, earn badges and certificates

You will earn points for completing Parallelograms and attending Circles. Your points will unlock mathematical badges, as well as certificates that you can (and should!) download and print. Learn more on the Awards page.

Get ready for the challenges ahead

You are going to be entering a peculiar Numberverse. Some of the mathematics will be a deeper exploration of the maths you have studied at school, while some of the topics will go far beyond what you encounter in the classroom. Moreover, we will sometimes dip into science, engineering, philosophy and much more.

Some of the puzzles, riddles and problems that you encounter in Parallelograms and Parallel Circles will make your brain ache. But don’t worry, because doing real maths means meeting difficult ideas and having to wrestle with them. If too many of you find the challenges too easy, then we are doing something wrong. At the same time, we think you will be able to do most of the challenges, otherwise you would not be on this website.

If you want to join a maths circle or start solving a Parallelogram, then create a free account now. Or, if you still have questions, visit our FAQ page.

Dr Singh

Ps. Before I sign off, you might wonder who is writing this message. When I was your age, I loved maths. I definitely wasn’t the best in the class and I often found maths hard, but I always enjoyed the challenge. Determination was the key.

My parents grew up in India in the 1930s and did not have a proper education (and my mum still can’t read or write), so they were both very keen that I made the best of my time at school … and sure enough I left school and earned a place to study physics at Imperial College in London, and then I went to Cambridge University and CERN and completed a doctorate (a PhD) in particle physics. We were messing around with antimatter, bosons and quarks – all very exciting. Since then, I have written books and presented radio/TV programmes about maths and science, and now I am creating the Parallel universe for students who love maths and who want to work towards a future in science, technology, engineering, computing, economics or mathematics.

Simon Singh Simpsons Avatar