Program Description

Program Description


Initially, Summer Studies participants will be partitioned into workshops, each led by a college or university professor and one or two graduate or undergraduate students. Each workshop will actively and intensively investigate problems from many areas of mathematics, with emphasis on unifying themes, recurrent patterns, and fruitful modes of inquiry. The particular topics are not predetermined by syllabus, but will be chosen by the instructors to challenge the interests and abilities of the participants. All students will have access to computer instruction (including Mathematica) during the workshop, and will be encouraged to use Hampshire’s facilities throughout the summer (but not for games or network cruising).

Midway through our six-week session, students and staff will regroup into “maxi-courses” and “mini-courses” for in-depth studies of particular problems and fields. Students will be able to select topics such as combinatorics, number theory, complex numbers, probability, four-dimensional geometry, fractals and chaos, graph theory, topology, and cellular automata.

Guest lecturers may include recent winners in the Siemens Competition, Intel Science Talent Search and other national competitions, authors of MAA and other contest problems, and other mathematicians from colleges, universities, and industry. We’ll have a weekly program of math films to teach, stimulate and to inspire.

The full cost of the Summer Studies will be $5882, ample financial aid is available based on need. Participants in the Summer Studies will not have time to maintain part-time jobs or similar obligations. There will, however, be a lot of program-related work; we keep our living and working places clean, we publish a weekly program journal, we show films, we organize trips, picnics, tournaments (in chess, Go, bocce, backgammon, frisbee…) and musical groups. Boredom has never been a complaint at the Summer Studies.

Neither grades nor credit are offered. Each student will be asked several times to evaluate his or her own growth; these introspections, together with evaluative comments by instructors, will form the basis for a report which will be made available, at the student’s request, to home schools, college admissions offices, and the like. Participants are also encouraged to make at least one mathematical presentation when they return to their schools.

Participants’ teachers are invited to visit the Summer Studies. Parental visits are discouraged, and other visitors require the approval of the Director eight months in advance.

Living Accommodations

Most of the faculty of the Summer Studies as well as all students will have single rooms in our dormitory. In the past summers, the continual close contact among students and staff has contributed greatly to the creation of a friendly, cooperative, and productive academic and social community.

The Hampshire College dining hall (“SAGA”) provides “all you can eat” at each meal. Students will have access to refrigerators and a stove. Students who are vegetarian, vegan, are easily accommodated. Though SAGA does not offer kosher food specifically, many past students have kept kosher during the summers and found the vegetarian and vegan options more than accommodating.


Hampshire recreation facilities include the Robert Crown Center, as well as outdoor courts for volleyball, tennis, Tether Ball, and basketball; fields for soccer, Frisbee, and softball.

Our Sundays are spent relaxing or field-tripping to Boston, to the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, or to other New England points of interest. These activities are regarded as parts of the program.

Participants are encouraged to bring bikes, musical instruments, athletic equipment, games, puzzles, calculators and computers (either laptop or desktop), and good working habits. Explosives, illegal drugs, firearms, cars, pets, noisy stereos, and sloppy thinking are not permitted.

The Hampshire College Admissions officers will be available for consultation, as will be representatives from other colleges and universities. Each summer, many alumni of previous HCSSiM’s pay visits and share experiences from their colleges and summer jobs.

About Hampshire College

Hampshire College, which opened in 1971, is an accredited, independent, experimenting, liberal arts college. Summer Studies students will enjoy the full use of the campus situated on 550 acres of woods and former farmland. The air-conditioned classrooms of the Cole Science Center will be used for our courses, and participants will have access to the College’s libraries, labs, and computer facilities.

Our neighboring institutions in the Pioneer Valley of the Connecticut River—Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Amherst Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts—all have academic, social, cultural, and recreational programs during the summer.

Other Information

For many of the previous sessions of the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics we enjoyed the support of the National Science Foundation. The NSF is no longer funding programs such as ours. The American Mathematical Society, alumni of HCSSiM, and other friends have provided support for financial aid funds and some other costs of recent Hampshire Summer Studies. We continue to seek additional sources of assistance (in kind contributions, as well as money) and welcome any suggestions you might have.