Student Comments

As the program went on, all of us started to feel like we are in a family.

PROMYS Europe is something different from how I had done mathematics before. Previously I had always learnt strategies and techniques and ideas and applied these to solving problems in order to get good marks in a test. PROMYS however is all about exploration and learning through experimentation, building the tools to ask and then tackle progressively more difficult and interesting questions. This makes the work deeply satisfying, because the results one discovers not only feel but truly are deep and meaningful mathematics.

1) Learn a lot of math and get more intuition. - Achieved.
2) Getting an idea of what I could focus my math on. - Still undecided but I got the new perspective of algebra.
3) Having a great time. - Achieved.

The best thing about PROMYS was that we had the opportunity to learn maths beyond that of school with the help of very accomplished professors. 6 weeks gave me a plenty of time to explore a lot on number theory and it also encouraged me to enjoy maths even more. 

Other math camps are far more specialised on competition math which is OK but the research perspective of PROMYS teaches mathematically far more and is more satisfying. The longer time is also better.

The environment here makes it very easy for work to feel not really like work and to actually just be fun.

I really admire both Glenn Stevens and Henry Cohn for their outstanding and extremely interesting lectures.

Now I'm even more sure about the job of a mathematical researcher.

It should be longer. I accept that this is basically impossible, but the programme seems to finish just as the content of the number theory course starts becoming really cool, and I would really like to spend more time getting familiar in a PROMYS way with material after the course. Of course I guess this is the point of university and books and whatever, but the PROMYS way of learning maths is super good. Anyway, it should definitely not be shorter. It has to be this long to work.

The time goes too fast and one will wish that there were at least 8 weeks as actually 6 weeks look like 3 weeks.

I really enjoyed the 'mandatory' fun we had (especially the dance night and ballroom dancing) because not only was it some time off maths but it also provided us with a great opportunity to get to know each other better.

As a returning student I was greatly surprised in how PROMYS Europe has succeeded in bringing the PROMYS program to England with its ideology and traditions.

This year, PROMYS learnt me how to think in creative ways, through the graph theory course that was really challenging and the research projects. It was a lot of hard work but I really enjoyed spending my time on struggling with problems and abstract notions.

Mathematical Support

I found my counsellor really useful as he used to comment on each problem that I did and that helps me to improve my writing skills and to find new paths.

The counsellors were all very approachable. My personal counsellor helped me in an efficient way when I was struggling through some questions in my problem sets, by not just simply telling me the answer but guiding me through each step in such a way that I could find the solution on my own. And they were also very good at keeping us entertained throughout the weekends.

The counsellors were great, especially in the research lab: giving mathematic intuition, alternative view point, putting the topic into a broader context.

There were plenty of counsellors, friends and professors to whom I could approach for help.

Glenn was always around to help, and Vicky as well.

Working with Other Students

I am not generally into significant amounts of group work when I am exploring a topic for the first time since I like to find things out for myself, but for my research project especially obviously working with other students was important and good. It is nice that students are there to help each other when needed but not forced to work on problems together, so that we have the choice and can work in a way that helps us to learn best.

The other students were always nice, friendly and willing to help. It was a pleasure working with them.

The first year students were all very collaborative and very smart. As always, PROMYS is a great place if you like to work in a team. (returning student)

Guest Lectures

I was astonished how PROMYS had scheduled lots of talks from experts, and how we even got to talk to these brilliant mathematicians.

It was very exciting to meet such a number of known mathematicians.

We had amazing guest lectures and the topics fit really well.

It was great to have a wide range of different guest lectures. In particular I really enjoyed the lecture about the application of maths in fields of biology because in our morning lectures we usually focus on pure maths and it is very interesting to get to know about maths in different perspectives and fields.

A choice of lecturers, which included some very famous mathematicians, to be experts in their own fields was also a good opportunity for everyone here to, first of all, meet them, and, secondly and maybe more importantly, to simply talk to them, ask questions about their research, get to know how mathematicians' work looks like every day.

The guest lectures give a nice view of what there is in the huge world of mathematics.

Exploration Labs and Research Projects

Even though the topic of my exploration project was something that I had barely touched upon, with the kind support and encouragement from the counsellors I was able to successfully complete the project. It was a great experience to work with other students and the preparation for the presentation has helped me develop my Latex skill as well.

The research project was really exciting. It felt so adventurous to explore structures that were unknown to me. My mentor and counsellor were both very helpful in posing the right questions. 

The possibility of choosing your favorite area and finding the questions by yourself is one of the better ways to approach the experience of a mathematical researcher. I loved it.

Advanced Course: Graph Theory 

I have often seen bits of graph theory separately, but I have never studied it over a long period like this before. This is the cool thing about PROMYS and the general idea of long summer programmes, is that they give students the opportunity to really get into subjects and think lots about things instead of just seeing a few cool results and learning them for use later on.

The graph theory course was challenging and fascinating for me.

Vicky was an amazing lecturer for the whole of the course, able to both describe the proofs in intuitive terms, allowing everyone to follow the proof more easily, and in further details, to not miss any important parts.

I really did not expect to get so deep into graph theory. Vicky Neale is one of the most enthusiastic lecturers I've seen so far, and her problem sets were really interesting and challenging. Thanks a lot, Vicky!

Wadham College and the Andrew Wiles Building (Mathematical Institute)

The food and accommodation was simply perfect, almost pure luxury! The service was outstanding.

Very yummy. 

I was simply amazed by what I have seen in Wadham. The staff was extremely nice and helpful, everything was accessible in there (I had pretty much no need to leave the college), including food, which I was impressed by the variety which they were serving. I cannot compare this to anything I have experienced in my life. For me it was just perfect.

The Andrew Wiles Building is wonderful and amazing and perfect.

What Did You Like Best About PROMYS Europe?

Doing math in such an intensive way

The people.

Constant maths and productivity, the support of the community and spending time with cool people who are also good at maths.

Meeting Andrew Wiles

Of all ways I had to spend my summer, I can't think of one which I would enjoy more than PROMYS.

I will recommend it strongly to my mathematical friends because I think that it is a unique opportunity.

PROMYS Europe was an amazing experience and my best summer up to now.

PROMYS Europe ended up being a much more fun and valuable experience than I had imagined. I have learnt so much and although I was often faced with challenges, this made me gain independence and knowledge.

I'm very grateful for my experience in the last 6 weeks. 

PROMYS Europe lived up to my expectations and was in fact an even more incredible experience than I expected it to be.

What CMI-PROMYS Scholars Said in 2013 and 2014

In 2013 and 2014, European students selected as CMI-PROMYS Scholars spent six weeks at PROMYS at Boston University immediately followed by one week at the Oxford Masterclasses at Wadham College, University of Oxford. 

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 had...an odyssey of self-discovery, mathematical learning and fun. 

Bohan (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013, Returning Student 2014

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 (Russia)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

I learned much and more mathematics here, and it was greater than I could have imagined, it really fueled my love for the sub¬ject. 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 (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and PROMYS Counsellor 2014

The way math is approached is different to the Olympiad-focused view I’m used to. That greatly enriches my math experiences.

Felix (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

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 (Romania)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

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 (Germany)
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.

Wassim (France)
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.

Liam (UK)
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 (Romania)
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 (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.

Anna (Germany)
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 (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Returning Student 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 (Spain)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014 

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 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

It's an incredible experience and those who love math should try to participate.

Spyros (Greece)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

PROMYS is awesome.  Apply!

Koen (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 (Spain)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

Article about PROMYS 2013 written by 2013 CMI-PROMYS Scholar, Spyros Koutroulis

CMI-PROMYS Scholars on Length of Programme 

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…

I myself was very skeptical about whether I really wanted to spend seven weeks far from home during my holidays doing math all day, and • only after attending for some time did I see how incredibly valuable this experience was. In fact, the only reason I came here despite my doubts was that my math teacher, whom I know very well and respect much, was so excited about this opportunity when telling me about it.

Lucas (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Counselor 2014 

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.

Liam (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014 

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.

Marc (Spain)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014 

6 weeks sounds long but not now at the end any more. It can’t be shorter in any case!

Felix (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar  

Now that it is the end, I would like to stay, but I guess that 6 weeks is about right.

Clara (France)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014  

6 weeks is just right. I wish to spend at least a year though learning other branches of math the way I did at PROMYS.

Polina (Russia)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014  

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 programme and much more than six weeks would probably be too much.

Anna (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014  

At PROMYS, one focuses on one subject for six weeks, working from morning to evening with few distractions. PROMYS does not try to teach as much mathematics as possible during the shortest possible period of time, but to create a deep understanding of one topic by thinking deeply about it for a longer period of time. Instead of going over the central theorems of a subject, PROMYS also poses questions around them, leading up to them, drawing conclusions from them or illustrating them in a different way or specific case, showing them out of a different perspective. This is a big difference to competition math -- where one, as Po-Shen Loh put it, does math by knowing what to search the internet for, i. e., where one tries to know at least a little, but mathematically strong bit from as many topics as possible. This difference also shows up in the way that problems are usually solved: The solutions to competition problems often consist out of a single idea, a clever trick maybe, which one either discovers, thereby solving the problem, or does not discover in the given, very limited amount of time one has. In contrast to that, one arrives at the ideas that are presented at PROMYS only after a long thought process, and these ideas are motivated, embedded into a deep and dense network of other ideas and observations, and can be generalized to many other problems and systems

Leon (Germany)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Returning Scholar 2014  

Writing at the end of the program, about to leave many friends, I would definitely consider the six weeks that has flown by to be too short. But, considering the large picture, I would say that six weeks is about the right length for PROMYS. It is sufficiently long for one to get used to the style and make good friends, but is also sufficiently short to generally fit into the summer of the school schedule.

Bohan (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Returning Scholar 2014  

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