“PROMYS is an amazing mathematical experience... Now that the program is starting in India, I hope many students and teachers avail themselves of this outstanding opportunity to bring the delight of doing and creating mathematics to the enormous pool of talent there.” Abhinav Kumar, PROMYS Counselor 1999. Dr. Kumar’s 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.
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.
PROMYS India was established after visits to India by Professors Ila Varma and Glenn Stevens 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 since 2015
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, there were 15 Fellows: six new first-year students, four returning students, one returning junior counsellor, and four returning counsellors. When Covid sadly necessitated that the launch of PROMYS India be postponed, the Mehta Fellowship program was extended. In 2020, there were 21 Fellows: eight new first-year students, three returning students, four junior counselors and five counselors and one Head Counselor. In 2021, there were 26 Fellows: ten first-year students, seven returning students and nine counselors. In 2022, twelve first-year Mehta Fellowships were awarded. Returning Mehta Fellows at PROMYS 2022 also included two returning students, one junior counselor and three counselors. (Click here and here for press coverage of Mehta Fellows.)
The Mehta Fellows who have now graduated from higher secondary school attend (or graduated from) many different colleges and universities at undergraduate level including Chennai Mathematical Institute (eleven fellows), the Indian Institutes of Technology (five), the Indian Statistical Institute (four), the Indian Institute of Science (three), University of Cambridge in the UK (two), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (two), Ashoka University, Columbia University, New York University, University of Waterloo and others. Many of the older Fellows have earned or are working on graduate degrees in India, Europe, or the U.S. In addition to at least twelve Masters, six Mehta Fellows are working on PhDs in Mathematics or in Physics or Computer Science at the following universities: Indian Institute of Science, Princeton University, Rice University, Rutgers University, SUNY Buffalo, and University of Bonn.
In all, one hundred and eight Mehta Fellowships have been awarded between 2015 and 2022. 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 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
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 2022, one thousand, nine hundred and sixty young mathematicians have participated as high school students and/or undergraduate counsellors. A third have participated for more than a single summer. Two hundred and twenty-three 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 eighty-four alumni are currently professors. One hundred and eighteen 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 MIT, six at UC San Diego, five at Harvard University, four at University of Chicago, four at University of Michigan, three at Cornell University, three at University of Pennsylvania, and two at UC 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 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. Every year, participants are selected from a large and talented applicant pool
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.