PROMYS was founded in 1989 by members of its current faculty who were former participants in the Secondary Science Training Program (SST) founded in 1957 by Arnold Ross. The PROMYS founders' own experiences in SST provided them with a theoretical model for PROMYS which they adapted to their own environment at Boston University to which they introduced strategies for the discovery of bright and eager young students from all backgrounds.
Originally and crucially funded by the National Science Foundation's Young Scholar program, PROMYS is fortunate to have the support of its sponsors, partners, and alumni. PROMYS is dedicated to the principle that no student should be unable to attend due to financial need.
In 1991, two years after the founding of the student program, PROMYS for Teachers, now a nationally recognized teacher institute, was established in collaboration with the Education Development Center (EDC), with a small group of 4 teachers. PROMYS for Teachers has grown to be a nationally known program attracting up to 50 Massachusetts teachers in recent summers. Teachers spend 6 weeks in the summer working intensely on challenging math alongside the talented high schoolers in PROMYS. Follow-up activities consist of five full-day workshops offered during the academic year by mathematicians at EDC. PROMYS for Teachers' mission is to enable the teachers to build the tools they need to create an atmosphere of joyful discovery in their own math classrooms.
The PROMYS for Students program has been influential in the development of several other significant initiatives in math education. For more information, please see here. Central to the PROMYS family of programs is the community of young people that comprises the core of Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists – the original program for talented young mathematicians.
PROMYS together with its long-time partner, the Clay Mathematics Institute, has established PROMYS Europe, an offshoot of PROMYS for European students. PROMYS Europe had a very successful first summer in 2015. In 2016, there will be eighteen first-year students, six returning students, and six counselors at Wadham College, University of Oxford. PROMYS Europe is a partnership of PROMYS with the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI), the University of Oxford's Mathematical Institute, and Wadham College, University of Oxford. The new program is very closely modeled on PROMYS at Boston University. PROMYS and PROMYS Europe are separately funded.
PROMYS Europe developed from two very successful pilot programs run by the CMI-PROMYS International Alliance during the summers of 2013 and 2014: the CMI-PROMYS Scholarships and the Oxford Masterclasses. The CMI-PROMYS Scholars were immersed in mathematics for six weeks at PROMYS and then traveled to England for a further week to attend the Oxford Masterclasses at Oxford University. The Masterclasses took place at Wadham College and were similar in spirit to the activities at PROMYS.
On August 16-18, 2013, the CMI-PROMYS International Alliance sponsored a workshop at Oxford University on Developing Exceptional Talent in Mathematics. The goal of the workshop was to explore the various initiatives then underway in Europe aimed at developing exceptional mathematical talent at the secondary level. The long-term outcome hoped for was the creation of an immersion-based program in Europe. This program, PROMYS Europe, is now in its second year.