PROMYS is a six-week summer program at Boston University designed to encourage strongly motivated high school students to explore in depth the creative world of mathematics in a supportive community of peers, counselors, research mathematicians, and visiting scientists.
Each year, PROMYS and the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) offer advanced seminars for returning PROMYS students. Returning students also engage in original research under the mentorship of professional mathematicians. Counselors and returning students will also organize their own seminars.
PROMYS is a six-week residential summer math program at Boston University for mathematically gifted high school students who are carefully selected from across the U.S. and around the world. PROMYS was founded in 1989 by Professor Glenn Stevens and three other current faculty members.
2014 Dates: June 29 - August 9.
Students: Approximately 80 high school students aged 15 – 19: 60 first-year students and 20 returning students.
Counselors: About 24 undergraduate students from top mathematics programs. Counselors, often alumni, support and grade the work of their 4 students, do their own research, and give/attend advanced seminars and lectures.
Faculty and Mentors: Faculty of six, three of whom are math professors at Boston University. Additionally, there are research mentors, who are professional mathematicians, and there are visiting guest lecturers, who are mathematicians and scientists in academia and/or industry. Professor Glenn Stevens is the Director of PROMYS.
Mathematics at PROMYS:
(1) All first-year students attend a daily lecture but spend the bulk of their time, almost all of which is unstructured, working on their own or collaboratively on carefully crafted and very challenging Number Theory problem sets.
(2) First-year students also engage in open-ended exploratory labs, and write up and share their work with the PROMYS community.
(3) Advanced and returning students take more advanced seminars and engage in research projects, mentored by professional mathematicians. Students present their results to the PROMYS community at the end of the summer. The students write up their results in research papers which are shared with the extended PROMYS community via the PROMYS alum site.
(4) There are numerous additional math-related lectures, seminars, and mini-courses by participants and by invited visitors, many of whom are alumni of the program.
Guiding Principles of the Program:
(1) A belief that math is a deeply human activity best experienced within a richly interacting and mutually supportive community of learners including high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, and research mathematicians.
(2) An emphasis on mathematical habits of mind that support independence and creativity in facing unfamiliar mathematical challenges.
(3) Students at PROMYS are presented with fundamental mathematical problems for which they have to struggle long and hard to find solutions. The students are given mathematical tools to find the solutions for themselves. They are not at any point given or led to the solutions. For the six weeks of PROMYS, the students are mathematicians.
(4) No student should be unable to attend PROMYS due to financial need.
Admission Process: A challenging problem set, recommendation from math teacher, transcript, and short essays.
Cost: Families are asked to contribute at most $3,300 towards the per-student cost of participation, which is $6,500. There is also full and partial need-based financial aid (for domestic students), some small merit scholarships, and 10 CMI-PROMYS International Alliance Scholarships for European students.
CMI-PROMYS International Alliance: The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is fully funding 10 scholarships for European students to attend PROMYS and then to travel to the new one-week Oxford Masterclasses in Combinatorics at Oxford University in England.
Funding: PROMYS is made possible in part by the generosity of its sponsors: Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI), the Linde Family Foundation, National Security Agency (NSA), American Mathematical Society (AMS), and the PROMYS Foundation (created and run by alums). PROMYS is also grateful for the support of Boston University.
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