Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics

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The Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSiM) is an American residential program for mathematically talented high school students. The program has been conducted each summer since 1971, with the exceptions of 1981 and 1996, and has more than 1500 alumni.[1][2]

The program was created and is still headed by Professor David C. Kelly. For a period Professor Don Goldberg was co-director of the program, and at a later period sarah-marie belcastro was co-director.

The program is housed at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and generally runs for six weeks from early July until mid-August. The program itself consists of lectures, study sessions, math workshops (general-knowledge classes), maxi-courses (three-week classes run by the senior staff members), and mini-courses (specialized shorter classes).

On a typical day, students spend the morning in class, have lunch together with the faculty, and then have several hours to use at their leisure. They return for the "Prime Time Theorem" (an hour-long talk on an interesting piece of mathematics given by a faculty member or a visitor), have dinner, and then spend a few hours solving problems. One of the instructors blogged the content of her class.[3][4]

Although the entire student body changes every year, HCSSiM has a number of well-established traditions. Some of the oldest of these traditions deal with the repeated use, in mathematical problems, jokes, and lectures, of the number 17 (and its multiples) and the Yellow Pig. These two traditions were started by Professor Kelly, who collects objects with yellow pigs on them and examples of the number 17 in print.

Many students go on to professional careers in mathematics. An occasional publication[5] has resulted from work done at the program. Well-known alumni of the program include two MacArthur Fellows, Eric Lander and Erik Winfree, as well as Lisa Randall, Dana Randall, and Eugene Volokh.[6] Many alumni return to the campus for a few days around Yellow Pig's Day (July 17) of each year. This observance was formalized for 2006 in "Yellow Pig Math Days," which was conducted in observance of 2006 being the 34th offering of the HCSSiM Program (34 being a multiple of 17).

The Summer Studies has been funded in the past by the American Mathematical Society[7] and the U.S. National Science Foundation.[8]

Other math programs have been organized loosely based on the Hampshire Program, including "The Université Mathématique d'Eté" by Daniel Elliott Loeb at SUPAERO 1991 and ENSAM 1992.

Yellow Pig's Day[edit]

Yellow Pigs Day cake at HCSSiM at Hampshire College on July 17 (Yellow Pigs Day) 2004.

Yellow Pig's Day, held annually on July 17, is a humorous celebration created and observed by mathematicians at Hampshire College and HCSSiM. The day is marked by exchanging gifts relating to yellow pigs or mathematics, singing yellow pig songs, and playing Ultimate.

Yellow Pig's Day was started by Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly. Spivak's published books include easter egg references to yellow pigs, and Kelly maintains an extensive collection of yellow pigs. In 2006, Hampshire College held a Yellow Pig Math Days conference, as part of the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics program.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "HCSSiM home page, Frequently and Less Frequently Asked Questions with Frequent Answers". Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  2. ^ Laura A. Haight (1982-02-05). "Hamming It Up At Hampshire: Mathematics Gone Hogwild". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  3. ^ "HCSSiM 2012 Blog, Day 1". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  4. ^ "HCSSiM 2012 Blog, Day 17". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  5. ^ For instance, Joel Auslander; Arthur T. Benjamin; Daniel Shawcross Wilkerson (1993). "Optimal leapfrogging" (PDF). Mathematics Magazine 66 (1): pp. 14–19. doi:10.2307/2690465. JSTOR 2690465. 
  6. ^ "HCSSiM About our alumni". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  7. ^ Jackson, Allyn (November 2003). "Supporting a National Treasure" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society 50 (10): 1221. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  8. ^ HCSSiM received funding under the Young Scholars Program (YSP) of the Division of Research on Learning (DRL) of the NSF. The grant award numbers were 8855094, 9055090, 9256071, and 9452685.
  9. ^ "HCSSiM About our alumni". Retrieved 2008-05-03. 

External links[edit]