Monday, January 25, 2016

PRIMES-USA: a remotely mentored mathematics research program for high school students

PRIMES stands for Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science for High School Students.  We'll focus on PRIMES-USA, which is the only part of the program available to students who don't live in the Boston metro area.  High school juniors from the across the United States can apply to work on an original research project in mathematics for a year mentored remotely by an MIT researchers. Participants go through the same steps that professional mathematicians do, including writing a paper and presenting at a conference.  Many students use their work to enter the Intel Science Talent Research.  

PRIMES is a very small and competitive program (< 20 students) as coming up with and mentoring a research project takes quite a bit of work.  There are a lot of opportunities for mathematics research at the undergraduate level, but this and RSI are the main options for high school students (besides convincing an individual faculty member to work with you). 

I think that all high schoolers could benefit from doing some sustained mathematical exploration (like this), but I think only a few are ready for PRIMES/RSI style original research (and that's perfectly okay).

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