CMI-PROMYS International Alliance Scholarships for European Students

2014 CMI-PROMYS Scholars at Wadham College, Oxford
After their six weeks at PROMYS, the 2014 CMI-PROMYS Scholars attended the week-long Oxford Masterclasses at Wadham College, Oxford University. In this photo, the Scholars and Professor Alexander Ritter (front right) are shown with Wadham Emeritus Fellow Sir Roger Penrose (center front), who gave a presentation to the Scholars on Penrose tiling.

The 13 CMI-PROMYS Scholars attended PROMYS at Boston University from June 29 to August 9, 2014 followed by the Oxford Masterclasses in Geometry at Oxford University from August 10 to August 16, 2014.

The CMI-PROMYS International Alliance was delighted that it was possible for 13 CMI-PROMYS Scholars, rather than the anticipated 10, to be selected from among the large and impressive pool of Scholarship applicants from Europe.

The 2014 CMI-PROMYS Scholars come from Belgium, France, Germany, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. 

Scholarship applications were received from 27 European countries. There were a large number of very strong applicants, and it was extremely difficult to select the group of Scholarship Finalists. Finalists from 10 countries were interviewed via Skype or telephone by PROMYS alumni from 8 European countries. The alumni told us how very much they enjoyed speaking with the Finalists about the students' interests and plans both in and beyond mathematics. Selecting the CMI-PROMYS Scholars from the pool of exceptional Finalists was  very hard. 

The CMI-PROMYS International Alliance, formed in 2013, is an expansion of the long standing PROMYS partnership with the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) which is generously funding the Scholarships. There are clearly a large number of talented young mathematicians in Europe who are very eager to collaborate with peers and to immerse themselves in challenging mathematical problem solving. We thank all the Scholarship applicants for their thoughtful applications and wish them a happy and productive summer and continued success in their mathematical endeavors.  

The CMI-PROMYS Scholarships cover tuition, room and board, and roundtrip airfare (up to $1,500 for airfare) and are designed for students who have not attended PROMYS before.  All secondary students resident in Europe, and European citizens resident outside Europe, including graduating seniors, are eligible for these scholarships which are not need-based; students must be at least 16 years of age by August 10, 2014. Applicants should complete the CMI-PROMYS Scholarship application which includes a problem set and teacher recommendation. The mathematical material that students tackle at PROMYS is very challenging indeed, and it is expected that participants will enjoy working intensively in mathematics; but students do not need to have taken any advanced or accelerated math courses to thrive at PROMYS. PROMYS lectures, discussions, and problem sets are in English; participants should possess English language skills which are strong enough to enable full participation. PROMYS is happy to speak with the schools of accepted students to assist in the resolution of any conflicts between school attendance dates and PROMYS participation dates.  

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2014 CMI-PROMYS Scholarships for European students. The deadline for receipt of Scholarship application materials was March 15.   

Oxford Masterclasses in Geometry: August 10 - 16, 2014

Director: Professor Alexander Ritter, Oxford University

CMI-PROMYS scholars first attended the six weeks of PROMYS at Boston University. They then participated for a further week in the Oxford Masterclasses in Geometry at Oxford University, England. The Masterclasses took place at Wadham College and were directed by Professor Alexander Ritter.  The Masterclasses were similar in spirit to the activities at PROMYS. They looked closely at advanced topics in Geometry. Please click here for a link to Professor Ritter's lecture notes, exercises, and handouts from the Masterclasses. There were also two guest lectures: Sir Roger Penrose (Wadham College) talked about Penrose tilings, and PROMYS alum Dr Henry Cohn (Microsoft Research) talked about sphere packing. 

Please click here for photos and an article on the Wadham College site about the 2014 Oxford Masterclasses. Please click here for photos of the 2013 Oxford Masterclasses and quotes from the participants.

Professor Ritter is Associate Professor of Geometry at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford University and the Roger Penrose Fellow and Tutor in Mathematics at Wadham College. His research interests are symplectic and contact geometry, Floer homology, Fukaya categories, mirror symmetry, and symplectic field theory.  

Participants in the Oxford Masterclasses were housed at beautiful Wadham College, Oxford University, and meals were provided in Hall and in the college refectory. Masterclass participants describe their food and housing at Wadham College as "awesome!"  Please click here for a PDF giving details of accommodations and arrangements at Wadham College. 

Wadham College is the academic home of some 55 Fellows, about 130 - 150 graduate students, and about 450 undergraduates. The college celebrated its four hundredth anniversary in 2010.  

“The students are exceptionally bright, enthusiastic and focused. Working in a group they particularly enjoyed solving together some of the more challenging problems I put before them. It is a pleasure to teach such promising young mathematicians.”
Professor Alexander Ritter, Director of the 2014 Oxford Masterclasses, speaking of the 2014 CMI-PROMYS Scholars. 

"It was a pleasure to teach such highly motivated students. Their level of devotion to solving the problem sets was quite extraordinary and I was very impressed at the work they produced:"
Professor David Conlon, Director of the 2013 Oxford Masterclasses, speaking of the 
2013 CMI-PROMYS Scholars.

What the 2014 CMI-PROMYS Scholars say about their experiences:

I have greatly benefited from my time at PROMYS. I have learned a lot, but also I have developed a lot of skills of a bold and curious explorer. Every element of the program makes it the best!  At the other places where I was learning math, students were competing, while at PROMYS students only help each other and cooperate with each other.

Guest lectures have had a great influence on my attitude toward math. So called “applied math” turned out to be sometimes no different from “pure math” with the exception that more people want to know the results of “applied” math! I have learned that math is actually very close to real life while I used to doubt it.

My experience at PROMYS and Oxford Masterclass taught me that while there’re a lot of things to learn, there’re a lot more to discover… I didn’t expect we would go this deep into some fields of mathematics, but we did and that was great!   After this wonderful journey into math, I’ve realized that my curiousity about mathematics transformed into more mature interest which I am intending to follow.
Polina Belopashentseva (Russia)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

This summer in PROMYS was a really great introduction to research in mathematics and gave to me a lot of things to think about in mathematics! The elements that I really enjoyed and I found very useful was the learning process: We never obtain any lists of proofs to learn by heart and then try to understand, but we are guided thanks to the counselors and the examples givens in the exercises to understand by ourselves “what’s going on ?” ! Generally, when we have already understood “what the problem is?” the proof became natural in our minds and we feel very happy. After that, we also really want to understand more and try to generalize what we proved: PROMYS help us to do that and it’s really cool. 

After this week in Oxford, I discover lots of news subject in mathematics: Topology, windings numbers, tiling of the plane… They seem very hard but after a really good course by an excellent professor, we understand a new theory and it’s very interesting!
Wassim Trabelsi (France)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

The way math is approached is different to the Olympiad-focused view I’m used to. That greatly enriches my math experiences.
Felix Hilsky (Germany)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

Overall, this turned out to be an amazing experience! I had the chance to learn a lot of interesting things, some of which I was able to understand on a deeper level than before, and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity!
Andi Gabriel Brojbeanu (Romania)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I would definitely recommend PROMYS to other mathematically ambitious students in my country, because PROMYS was one of my best summers ever and I would recommend the way of learning math which is used at PROMYS to every student.
Tim Bloedtner (Germany)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

It’s much more fulfilling to learn by making conjectures and working on their proofs than any other way. It also gives you more understanding of the results you established and how to use them.

I think 6 weeks is about the right length for PROMYS. On the one hand I would love to stay much longer and feel like the time passed by very quickly. On the other hand PROMYS is a really intense program and much more than six weeks would probably be too much.  This summer was definitely one of the best summers in my life. 

There’s nothing like it currently available in the UK, and it has been a really useful experience for me. 
Liam Hughes (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I discovered whole new branches of mathematics which motivated me to continue with studying maths. Instead of the abrupt way of reading maths online or in books, PROMYS lets you try to come up with these things by yourself. Learning yourself the technique of conjecturing and proof PROMYS gives you this unique different approach of really struggling of problems and doing wonderful discoveries by yourself. This program totally changed my point of view.
Art Waeterschoot (Belgium)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I have greatly benefited from PROMYS in many ways. Besides learning a lot of interesting math I was able to improve my English and made friends with lots of new people….Counselors as well as second years and other first years were very helpful with math (in their own ways) and all the people are very welcoming and open-minded.

I enjoyed working on the Psets in groups and on my own as well as listening to lectures. I worked in groups before but it was still a great new experience working with people who like math as much as I do and growing together as a group of friends in the process.
Anna Köhne (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I feel like I benefited, mathematically, in particular in rigorous proof writing, ordering the thoughts to get an overview and making conjectures (after finding evidence through numerical examples).  I learnt a lot from the other people, which was definitely the most worthwhile element of the program (different than I am used to from competition math, at PROMYS everybody helps everybody out).  The PROMYS community is very supportive and welcoming. I will definitely stay in touch with the amazing friends I made.

Thanks to being six weeks, PROMYS allows one to only focus on math, in particular just one topic, and lets one experiment a lot more on your own, which I found a very rewarding experience. At PROMYS lecture is more like a review instead of introducing the new material, which I found great, because you get to discover the thing on your own, and you don´t miss any since you go to lecture.

It was great!  Not only because the problem sets are really well designed and give you a guidance you would otherwise not have, but also because you meet a lot of interesting people, make incredibly good friends and have an amazing time while learning a lot. If you like math PROMYS is the way to go!
Marc Isern Hacker (Spain)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I’m really happy that I have one more week after the “end” of PROMYS in Boston, and everything doesn’t stop at once. I’ve never done any topology before, so I’m really happy to experience it, (and with an awesome teacher!)
Clara Ding
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I found the PROMYS community to be extremely welcoming and supportive. In fact, I believe this community to be a large reason for the continued success of the program. I hope to stay in touch with people from PROMYS as PROMYS has brought me into contact with a great community full of interesting people with similar interests to myself. 

PROMYS taught me that mathematics is not just an individual pursuit where one is in competition with everyone else and also indicate to me that one learns mathematics by doing it and not just by reading about it.

The CMI-PROMYS International Alliance is an amazing opportunity to not only learn about interesting mathematics, but also to interact with a community full of great, friendly people that are passionate about mathematics. The mathematics is intriguing and complemented by the community that supports you throughout your journey. Often one may find that you can learn an extraordinary amount from one’s peers who are travelling the same journey.
Bohan Yu (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Returning Student 2014

I learned much and more mathematics here, and it was greater than I could have imagined, it really fueled my love for the sub­ject. Nevertheless, I think that I have learned some things of even greater importance, the most influential of which certainly is a very general, humble attitude of the mind — to think about mathematics as an explorative experience rather than a deductive language, to always think thoroughly and carefully, even about simple things, and to reflect upon what one is doing.

It shouldn’t be shorter, because at the end of the sixth week, everything came together beautifully, and because in order to really focus and understand (“feel”) the core ideas of PROMYS, a long period of time is necessary. I wouldn’t mind if it were longer, and it could only get better that way, but that would create difficulties when embedding PROMYS into the summer holidays (and generally, into the lives) of the participants.
Lucas Mann (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Counselor 2014

What the 2013 CMI-PROMYS Scholars say about their experiences:

"It has been an enlightening and delightful summer full of maths, insight and great people … At PROMYS, you will certainly have to work hard, pushing your horizons and thinking in new ways, but the challenges presented and the environment provided is perfect for this – to advance you mathematically and philosophically.  It’s undoubtedly been the most productive summer I’ve ever odyssey of self-discovery, mathematical learning and fun."
Bohan Yu (UK) CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"These were the best six weeks of my life.  I've met a lot of interesting people, do a lot of math and made a lot of friends.  And when I've thought that life just couldn't get any better than this, surprise! Best experience ever!  
Andreea Iorga (Romania) CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"CMI-PROMYS was a defining experience for me and gave me enormous insights both mathematically and emotionally."
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"I just can say is the most incredible experience I have had.  So incredible that I wish there was a second years scholarship so I could have the opportunity to come again."
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"It's an incredible experience and those who love math should try to participate."  
Spyros Koutroulis (Greece) CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"PROMYS is awesome.  Apply!"
Koen Doodeman (Netherlands) CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"I recommend people who like math to participate in it … PROMYS has been one of the best experience I had. … I just can say it's been an incredible experience."
Marc Tricas Perramon (Spain) CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"It would be good if there were scholarships for second year students because this summer was the best summer I’ve ever had and I certainly want to come back again."
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

 Click here for more student testimonials
 Click here for article about PROMYS 2013 written by 2013 CMI-PROMYS Scholar, Spyros Koutroulis


CMI-PROMYS International Alliance Organizing Committee

Professor Nicholas Woodhouse - President of the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI), Oxford, England 
Professor Glenn Stevens - Director of the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS) at Boston University, U.S. 
Professor David Conlon - Director of the 2013 Oxford Masterclasses in Combinatorics at Oxford University, England 
Professor Jürg Kramer - Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany 
Joshua Greene - Partner COMAC Capital LLP, London, England  
Professor Dierk Schleicher - Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany


Please CLICK here for more information for international students applying to PROMYS.

Please CLICK here to download a CMI-PROMYS Scholarship flyer. 

Interested students from Europe may email with any questions or call 617 353 2563.