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Pre-College Program Category: STEM

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  • Now in its 45th year, HCSSiM is an intensive six-week encounter with college-level mathematics for talented and highly motivated high school students. It is demanding and expanding. Participants spend a major portion of each day actively engaged in doing mathematics (not simply learning the results of mathematics). HCSSiM students live in the dorms at Hampshire College in Massachusetts for six summer weeks, and study and play in its fields, woods, and academic buildings (not typically in that order). The daily schedule includes 4 hours of morning classes (Mon-Sat), the pre-supper Prime Time Theorem, and evening problem sessions. Afternoons are devoted to reading, rest, recreation, occasional trips to town, and informal study. Participants have unparalleled access to faculty members in classrooms, at meals, and in the program dorm. Productive collaborations continue long after the program, and many lifelong friendships are forged. Our alumni come from (and end up) all around the world, but remain close in spirit. Those who have the means to make it back to Hampshire College join us for Yellow Pigs Day in July, and so students have an opportunity to meet (and sing carols, play frisbee, juggle… with) notables in math, science, tech, and many more fields.Initially, Summer Studies participants will be partitioned into workshops, each led by a college or university professor and one or two graduate or undergraduate students. Each workshop will actively and intensively investigate problems from many areas of mathematics, with emphasis on unifying themes, recurrent patterns, and fruitful modes of inquiry. The particular topics are not predetermined by syllabus, but will be chosen by the instructors to challenge the interests and abilities of the participants. All students will have access to computer instruction (including Mathematica) during the workshop, and will be encouraged to use Hampshire’s facilities throughout the summer (but not for games or network cruising). Midway through our six-week session, students and staff will regroup into “maxi-courses” and “mini-courses” for in-depth studies of particular problems and fields. Students will be able to select topics such as combinatorics, number theory, complex numbers, probability, four-dimensional geometry, fractals and chaos, graph theory, topology, and cellular automata. Guest lecturers may include recent winners in the Siemens Competition, Intel Science Talent Search and other national competitions, authors of MAA and other contest problems, and other mathematicians from colleges, universities, and industry. We’ll have a weekly program of math films to teach, stimulate and to inspire.The full cost of the 2017 Summer Studies will be $4913, and need-based financial aid is available. Participants in the Summer Studies will not have time to maintain part-time jobs or similar obligations. There will, however, be a lot of program-related work; we keep our living and working places clean, we publish a weekly program journal, we show films, we organize trips, picnics, tournaments (in chess, Go, bocce, backgammon, frisbee…) and musical groups. Boredom has never been a complaint at the Summer Studies. Neither grades nor credit are offered. Each student will be asked several times to evaluate his or her own growth; these introspections, together with evaluative comments by instructors, will form the basis for a report which will be made available, at the student’s request, to home schools, college admissions offices, and the like. Participants are also encouraged to make at least one mathematical presentation when they return to their schools.Participants’ teachers are invited to visit the Summer Studies. Parental visits are discouraged, and other visitors require the approval of the Director eight months in advance.

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