2019 sees the 5th PROMYS Europe summer school. The programme brings together enthusiastic and ambitious teenage mathematicians from across Europe, who gather in the Oxford Mathematical Institute for six weeks of intensive mathematics. Participants, who stay at Wadham College, work on activities designed to give them the opportunity to explore mathematical ideas independently. This year they are concentrating on number theory and combinatorics, and in addition are working on group projects drawing on ideas from a range of mathematical topics. The programme is a partnership of the Oxford Mathematical Institute, Wadham College, the Clay Mathematics Institute, and PROMYS in Boston, which celebrated its 30th birthday this year.
PROMYS Europe, like its parent programme PROMYS in the USA, has a distinctive teaching philosophy and structure. Students receive a daily set of problems, and have a daily number theory lecture, but the lectures aim to be at least three days behind the problems sets. Students are invited to experiment, to gather numerical data, to explore ideas, to formulate conjectures and to try to find their own proofs, all before the ideas are formalised in lectures. This gives students a very different experience of mathematics from anything they have encountered previously, and they are able to see how deeply it is possible to understand an area of maths because they have put the ideas together themselves.
Students apply for the programme by submitting their work on our challenging application problems. Students need to display perseverance and creativity in testing their ideas and finding routes to a solution. To join the email list to be notified when applications for students and counsellors open next year, please see the PROMYS Europe website.
Halfway through the programme, the 2019 students and undergraduate counsellors gathered with faculty, former students and counsellors, and friends of the programme, to celebrate the 5th birthday of PROMYS Europe and the many achievements of the students and counsellors. Many former students and counsellors of PROMYS Europe have gone on to study maths degrees at leading universities, and the oldest are in some cases now embarking on PhD research degrees.
This year, the 36 students and counsellors come from Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and Ukraine. The counsellors are all Mathematics undergraduates, including three who are current Oxford undergraduates (having previously themselves been students at PROMYS Europe), and a fourth who is moving to Oxford in October to start the Oxford Masters in Mathematical Sciences (OMMS) MSc.
PROMYS Europe is dedicated to the principle that no one should be unable to attend for financial reasons, and full or partial financial assistance is available for those who would otherwise be unable to attend. PROMYS Europe is made possible thanks to funding and other resources provided by the partnership, as well as further financial support from alumni of the University of Oxford and Wadham College, and from the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research.