Summer Institute for Mathematics at the University of Washington

The Summer Institute for Mathematics at the University of Washington is intended to provide talented, enthusiastic students with a glimpse of the depth and beauty of mathematics. The mathematical topics studied are accessible, yet of sufficient sophistication to be challenging, allowing students to participate in the experience of mathematical inquiry and be immersed in the world of mathematics.

The SIMUW 2007 program runs from June 24 to August 4, 2007. It will bring together twenty-four participants from Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska with a mathematical background of at least three years of high school mathematics who have not yet completed high school. Admission is competitive, based on an assessment both of ability in mathematics and enthusiasm for an intensive mathematical experience. Participants will live in UW residence halls. Room, board, participation in all program activities, and a travel allowance are provided to admitted participants at no cost, subject to availability of expected funding. The SIMUW program is organized by four UW faculty members: Ron Irving, Sándor Kovács, James Morrow, and Paul LePore. Six mathematicians from UW and elsewhere will serve as the instructors, with the assistance of six teaching assistants. In addition, other mathematicians and scientists from UW and elsewhere will participate as special lecturers.

The program is divided into two-week blocks, with two instructors for each block. During four of the five weekdays of each week, the participants will meet with one of the instructors in a morning session and the other instructor in an afternoon session. During these sessions, participants will grapple with mathematical problems that are designed to be challenging yet ultimately accessible. The instructors will lecture to a limited extent, in order to provide necessary background, but the emphasis will be on giving the participants the opportunity to tackle hard mathematical problems in collaboration with the staff.

A special program will be arranged for the remaining weekday of each week. In the morning, a speaker from the campus or the region will discuss the role mathematics plays in his or her work. The speaker may be a mathematician, or alternatively a scientist or engineer who uses mathematics in another field, such as physics, biology, atmospheric sciences, or electrical engineering. The lecture will serve simultaneously to provide the participants with a break from their work during the rest of the week and to open vistas on subjects that lie ahead. After the talk, the speaker will spend some time with the participants. The afternoon session will either feature a second speaker or consist of a special activity or field trip related to mathematics.

Participants will spend some of their free time working individually or together on mathematical problems with their counselors. This is likely to be one of the most valuable and enjoyable parts of the program. Other free time will be spent on recreational activities on campus or in the area. Trips will be arranged on most Saturdays to places of interest, such as local museums, Mount Rainier, a Seattle Mariner baseball game, or downtown Seattle. Sundays will generally be left open for group or individual activities.