History

History

"What I appreciated most as a student was the intensity of the program. I think that the main sources of this feeling were the difficulty and depth of the problems sets and the presence and motivation of the other students and counselors... Many of the people I met are still close friends, and I learn a lot from them as they continue to do interesting things with their lives." Joshua Greene, PROMYS Student 1991-1992, Counselor 1996, and Head Counselor 1997. Current President of the PROMYS Foundation

Students and counselors at PROMYS 1992, the 4th year of the programme at Boston University

PROMYS India is an offshoot of the PROMYS programme which has been running at Boston University in the United States since 1989. Conceived thanks to a partnership of PROMYS with the philanthropists Nick and Avi Nash, PROMYS India developed from a pilot programme, the Mehta Fellowships to PROMYS. The Mehta Fellowships forged a pipeline of opportunity by funding the participation in PROMYS of exceptionally gifted young mathematicians from across India.

Since 2017, Professors Ila Varma and Glenn Stevens have made visits to India to give mathematics talks and to speak with mathematicians, educators and innovators about the proposed PROMYS offshoot in India. They are grateful for the hospitality and enthusiasm with which they were received, for the mathematical connections which were strengthened, and for the partnerships which were forged. PROMYS and PROMYS India look forward to working alongside colleagues who are already working with talented young mathematicians in India.

Mehta Fellowships to PROMYS: 2015 - 2019

Mehta Fellows at PROMYS 2019 with Prof. Li-Mei Lim, Prof. Glenn Stevens and Prof. Marjory Baruch

The Mehta Fellowships programme enabled the participation in PROMYS at Boston University of mathematically talented students in India who would have been unable to attend without a scholarship and travel support. The Fellows were very carefully selected from each year’s large and impressive pool of applicants. The application included a challenging problem set, short essay responses, school report, and teacher recommendation. Finalists were interviewed by mathematicians from India who are also PROMYS alumni including Dr. Abhinav Kumar (whose background includes Gold and Silver IMO medals for India, IIT JEE Topper 1998, Associate Professorship at MIT, and his current work as a mathematician in industry).

Thanks to funding from Nick Nash, Avi Nash, Morph.org and the Indira Foundation, all expenses were covered for the selected fellows: tuition, room and board, round-trip travel, visa application fees, and books.

There were two Mehta Fellows at PROMYS 2015, both of whom were Returning Fellows the next year. There were a total of six Mehta Fellows in 2016 and eight in 2017, including five Returning Fellows. In 2018, there were twelve Fellows: five first-year students, three returning students, and four Mehta Fellows who were now counsellors. In 2019, the final year of the pilot programme, there were 15 Fellows: six new first-year students, four returning students, one returning junior counsellor, and four returning counsellors. (Click here and here for press coverage of Mehta Fellows.)

Of the 16 Fellows who have now graduated from higher secondary school, eight attend (or graduated from) Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), two attend the University of Cambridge in the UK, two attend the Indian Institute of Science, and there is one fellow at each of the following: Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata (ISI), Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), University of Illinois at Chicago, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In all, thirty-eight Mehta Fellowships have been awarded. These talented young mathematicians have developed deep understanding of the PROMYS approach to learning mathematics and the PROMYS emphasis on building a collaborative mathematical community.

As returning students and counsellors, the Mehta Fellows will form the experienced core of  PROMYS India; they are excited about the new programme and their ability to help it thrive.

PROMYS at Boston University Since 1989

Students, counselors and faculty at PROMYS 2019 at Boston University
Students, counselors and faculty at PROMYS 2019 at Boston University

PROMYS was founded in 1989 by Professor Glenn Stevens and other 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.

Professor Glenn Stevens of Boston University has been the Director of PROMYS since its founding in 1989. Over the years, PROMYS has become an integral part of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University with at least three professors involved every year.

PROMYS is fortunate to have the support of its sponsors, partners, and alumni. To ensure the programme remains accessible, the cost of attendance is subsidised for all students, there are some merit scholarships, and need-based financial aid for domestic students can cover up to the full cost of participation (including room and board).

Between 1989 and 2019, one thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine young mathematicians have participated as high school students and/or undergraduate counsellors. A third have participated for more than a single summer. One hundred and ninety-seven have attended for more than two summers, tackling more advanced mathematics and acting as role models for the less experienced students.

More than half of PROMYS alumni go on to earn a doctorate, of which 80% are PhDs. Overall, about a quarter of alumni earn a PhD in Mathematics (over 30% of which are from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, or Stanford). One hundred and sixty alumni are currently professors. One hundred are professors of mathematics; others are professors of computer science, physics, finance, economics, chemistry, biology, philosophy, English, medicine, public policy, law or other fields. Alumni are on the faculty at a great many institutions including six at Harvard University, three at MIT, five at Cornell University, five at University of Chicago, three at Columbia University, four at University of Pennsylvania, and two at University of California Berkeley. You can read about the alumni here on the PROMYS site.

A great many alumni excel in STEM fields such as computer science or engineering. There are also many alumni in medicine, finance, consulting, and law - as well as a very wide range of other professions and occupations. Alumni in a wide range of fields speak fervently about the benefits they have received from the rigorous habits of mind they acquired at PROMYS.

PROMYS Europe at the University of Oxford Since 2015

PROMYS Europe 2018 at the University of Oxford (photo courtesy of Wadham College)

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 programme is based at the University of Oxford and students from across Europe are eligible to apply. From a large and talented applicant pool, twenty-eight students and eight counsellors were carefully selected for PROMYS Europe 2019, the 5th year of the programme.

PROMYS Europe developed from a very successful pilot programme: the CMI-PROMYS Scholarships which ran in 2013 and 2014. Like PROMYS India, PROMYS Europe is very closely modelled on PROMYS at Boston University. Like PROMYS India, PROMYS and PROMYS Europe are separately funded.