Sunday, January 17, 2016

HCSSiM: a summer program for high school students who appreciate yellow pigs and the number 17

Another program in the category of residential math camps for high school students is HCSSiM, which stands for Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics.  From their website:
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).
 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.
I was a student here in 2007, and for me it definitely was a transformative experience.  I spent 8 hours a day doing math, and I loved it! This was when I first realized that mathematics was creative, and was given the opportunity to discover mathematics for myself instead of being lectured about it.  Looking back, I really appreciate that we were encouraged to stop thinking about our problem sets once the evening session was over, and that I got a solid foundation in proof writing that helped me succeed as a math major at Princeton.

HCSSiM certainly has a unique culture which needs to be experienced to really understand - but be prepared to appreciate the number 17 and yellow pigs (for example, see here).  For me, it's on the fun and quirky side of summer math camps.

Yellow Pigs Day in 2007

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