Frequently Asked Questions and our Frequent Answers
- What is the cost of HCSSiM, and what does that include? How are financial aid decisions made?
The fee is $5780, which covers tuition, room, and 3 meals a day for six weeks as well as a recreation fee. This does not include personal expenses or travel costs to and from the program. There is ample Financial aid available and decisions are based on need. Financial concerns should not discourage applications, and we will not let money issues prevent a student from accepting an invitation. Financial decisions are confidential and will not influence the selection of participants. International students are also eligible for financial aid. To find out more about financial aid click here.
- Can I come a day or week late or leave a day or week early?
Requests for late arrivals to the program or early departure will be passionately negotiated against by Kelly; nonetheless, we encourage you to still contact us and work things out — we understand that life exists beyond Hampshire (and that it’s not often as accommodating to young mathematicians).
- Does it often happen that a Summer Studies alumn winds up at the same college as a Summer Studies alumn from a different summer, and, if so, is there a way for them to identify each other? And are there reasons they might want to do so?
Yes, yes, and yes.
- How many students participate in the entire program and do they come from across the U.S. or from local areas?
We had 46 participants in 2022, 23 of who were girls. Among these were students from 12 US states as well as Canada, , China, Cyprus, and India.
- Do the students and faculty at HCSSiM have access to math books? What about books on moths, myths, mash, Bath, and mates?
HCSSiM has its own yellow pig math book collection which is kept current and is moved from the Hampshire College library into our dorm for the summer. Recommendations and contributions are welcome. HCSSiM participants can borrow books from the HC library (only open weekdays during the summer) and can arrange to get books from the University of Massachusetts and other local college libraries.
- Is it true that the Hampshire College dining hall permits unlimited seconds, that butterscotch pudding, many baked desserts, and a salad bar are available for lunch and for supper, that Summer Studies faculty join students for meals, often sitting at the very same table as students, and that HCSSiM participants bus their own trays? and Can special dietary requirements (e.g., vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, nut allergy) be accommodated?
Yes and Yup.
- Will coming to the Summer Studies improve my facility with Olympiad-type math problems, with college applications, with laundromats, and with Frisbee and juggling?
Yes, by 17%.
- Are math movies shown on Wednesdays and do students help choose entertainment films for Saturday night viewing?
Yes. Recent screenings have included:
- “Linear Programming,”
- “Tales from the Wanklenburg Woods,”
- “Not Knot,”
- “Four Line Conics,”
- “Dance Squared,”
- “Dr. Strangelove,”
- “Fermat’s Last Tango,”
- “Stalag 17,” and
- “Powers of Ten.”
- Do mathematicians often visit the Summer Studies to deliver guest lectures?
Yes, typically more than 17% of the daily Prime Time Theorems are presented by visiting mathematicians who join the program for a meal or two.
- Is internet access available at Hampshire?
It will be as soon as the College is wired for electricity. There is already indoor plumbing.
- With 4 hour morning classes, 3 hour evening problem sessions, and daily Prime Time Theorems, isn’t it probable that the Summer Studies will run out of math to explore?
We’ve usually covered all the math there is by the middle of the 5th week. This allows a few days to review and a week for art history and tap dancing.
- We’re worried about sending our child far away from home. If they are invited, will someone from HCSSiM be able to get him/her from the airport or bus or train station? How safe is HCSSiM? Will our child be homesick? What happens if a student becomes ill or injured?
Yes, we do pick students up at train, bus, and plane stations (the 1st 2 in Springfield, MA; the last is BDL, Bradley International, serving Hartford (CT)/Springfield (MA)); and we’ve invented a so-far-100%-successful way for pickeruppers and pickerupees to recognize each other.
The Hampshire College campus is basically rural, surrounded by beautiful farms and forest. As such, the crime rate is dramatically lower than areas such as New York City, Atlanta, San Diego, Boston and Columbus. Additionally, Public Safety officers frequently traverse campus.
Yes. (And s/he’ll get over it, too.)
Both AEIOU and Cooley Dickinson Hospital are only a few miles away, and both take most forms of insurance.
- What ages of students do you accept?
We don’t accept ages; and if we did, mathematical age would be more important than chronological age. Actually, we accept everyone; but we can’t invite all of our applicants.
Most students come to HCSSiM after their sophomore or junior years in high schools. Recent programs have included students who have just completed their 9th grade and have taken more advanced math. We’re open to an occasional even younger student. In any event, none of this information should dissuade anyone from entering the getting-to-know-each-other process by submitting an application unless you have already graduated from high school. Applying is free, fun, fast, obligationless, doable online, and doable while other options are under active investigation. Not applying unnecessarily closes a door, shuts off communication, means not seeing the Interesting Test, may cause boredom, and serves to encourage producers of reality tv shows.
- If I come to the Summer Studies, will I have to share a dormitory room?
Not at the same time.
- You refer to “senior staff” and “junior staff.” Who are these people? Are there other kinds of staff?
Senior staff are college professors (including, of course, David Kelly, who is an Emeritus Professor at Hampshire College). Junior staff are graduate students and undergraduate math majors. Junior and senior staff are typically alumns of the program or are otherwise well -acquainted with how the Summer Studies is run.
There are two other kinds of staff: Susan Goff is the year-round Program Coordinator, and each summer there is a Residential Advisor.
- It’s kind of late. I think I’ve missed a deadline. What do I do?
Turn back time. Or apply anyway, if that’s simpler.
- Why is 17 so important?
Without 17, 16 and 18 would be perilously close and…
[the rest of this answer was advertently omitted. Details available at the very next session of the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics.]
Less-Frequently Asked Questions and our Frequent Answers
- Who is the tallest student to have participated in the Summer Studies?
Toby Ayer. He toured Russia with Circus Smirkus (and was several years ago a “hair’s breadth” away from being able to juggle 9 balls), rowed as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, studied linguistics, worked with MIT’s Experimental Study Group and now teaches physics at the Salisbury School in CT.
- Was Hampshire College, which had its first entering class in September, 1970 (9 months before the first HCSSiM), the catalyst for a lot of collaboration among the Five Colleges (Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and the University of Massachusetts), and does that collaboration include simple inter-school course registrations, free bus service connecting the 5 campuses and neighboring communities, a single library card valid at all 5 schools, and actual Five College Departments in astronomy and dance?
- Is it true that the 1st child of a HCSSiM alumn to attend a later session of the HCSSiM is named Rachel, that the next 3 children of HCSSiM alumns to attend the Summer Studies have been named Daniel, and that, as of this writing, the numbers of alumn sons to join the program is equal to the number of alumn daughters to do so? Oh, and how many sets of 3 siblings have been HCSSiM students?
Yes. Oh, and 3 so far.
- How do you remember the numbers on Effron’s intransitive dice?
By including them in the answer to this “Frequently and Less Frequently Asked Questions with Frequent Answers,” I don’t need to remember them (except for occasions when I do not have internet access). The 3 dice are:
A: 6,6,6,6,6,6B: 11,11,4,4,4,4
The thing about these dice is that A beats B (2/3 of the time) and B beats C (5/9 of the time); so you’d expect (were it not for the word “intransitive” in the question) that A would be much more likely to beat C—but, in fact, C beats A (with probability 2/3).
The other thing about the dice is what happens when you roll 2 of the same kind. Since A is better than B, you might expect that rolling 2 A’s would be betterer than 2 B’s. In fact…
- Has it happened that one HCSSiM alumn has been the graduate or Ph.D. thesis advisor for another HCSSiM alumn? If so, did either or both ever teach in HCSSiM? And, if both did, did they ever do so in the same summer?
Yes. Both have taught in the Summer Studies, Ed twice, Ann many more times. And yes.
- In the short history of the Morgan Prize for Undergraduate Research, have 3 HCSSiM alumni won?
Not yet, but 2 have and 1 won honorable mention.
- Speaking of 2, how many HCSSiM alumns have won MacArthur “genius” grants?
- Was there a period during the 2nd decade of the Summer Studies when the “i” in HCSSiM was capitalized along with the other letters?
Did this question and its answer get interchanged?
- Opinions vary as to how much money students should bring or have available. All meals are provided and textbooks are rarely required (a large math library is moved into the dorm for the summer); the washers and dryers have been free in recent summers; there are no local subways or trolleys; and the comprehensive fee covers room, board, tuition, and recreation (financial aid is available). Students are on their own for snack food, paper supplies, souvenirs, and sundries (most are available at the Hampshire College Summer Book Store).
That’s not a question, but if it were, the answer would be to the effect that Kelly can hold cash, cash checks, and isn’t sure what sundries are.
- Are there 2 ways to pronounce “read?”
What did you say?
- Is there a complementary sentence that can be spoken but not written?
There’s one that suggests “two,” “too,” “tu,” “tutu,” and “to.”
- Why should one avoid using the c-word (_amp) when referring to the Summer Studies?
It sounds Mickey Mouse sometimes and militaristic at other times; and if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the Town of Amherst were to formally declare us a camp the constraints, regulations, and paperwork would be excessive; for example, we would need to publish a complete set of rules and regulations, detail our disciplinary procedures, and submit all conjectures in writing and in duplicate in advance. HCSSiM does take the health and safety of participants very seriously and meets or exceeds all guidelines in those regards.
- Is it true that HCSSiM has only two rules, and if so, what are they?
(1) Be considerate. (This has many corollaries.)
(2) Always put the whiteboard dry-erase marker’s cap on tightly.
- Have there been HCSSiM participants who have formed jazz ensembles, attended Frisbee tournaments, practiced violin daily, organized intra-program bocce tournaments, gone running daily, or learned to exchange balls while juggling?
Yes, all of the above (though not simultaneously).
- Don’t you have a tongue?
Yes, but my arm is longer.
- Has the yellow pig flag ever been flown from a window as a signal that a problem set was complete?