Institute for Advanced Study/Park City Mathematics Institute

From Lucas Sabalka of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

The Park City Mathematics Institute offers its Summer Program to many people across the nation. Among other programs (such as the Graduate Program, the Mathematics Teachers Program, etc.), PCMI offers an Undergraduate Program. Approximately 25 undergraduates attend the Institute (last year it was in Princeton, NJ at IAS; this year it will be in Park City, Utah) to take classes in the field chosen for that year for three weeks (this year the Institute will run from July 8 through July 28, I believe). The classes (at least last year) involved two lectures per day, as well as other opportunities to learn mathematics (other forums for the other Programs) and a cross-program activity every day. One class is a basic lecture and the second class is a more advanced lecture. Both proceed at a fairly rapid rate through the desired material. Personally, PCMI was the best thing I've done yet. The people there were wonderful, the mathematics was fun, the location was beautiful, and the topic was intriguing. I plan on attending this summer. One more thing... Undergraduates are paid a stipend for attending.

From Anna Hu of Bryn Mawr College:

The IAS/PCMI Summer 2000 Program was an excellent program. Each summer, the IAS(Institute for Advanced Study)/PCMI(Park City Mathematics Institute) holds a three-week summer session that focuses on a different area of mathematics. The focus of the session this past summer was Computational Complexity Theory.

The program is especially unique because those involved in doing math at all levels and across several fields from undergraduates to post-docs to high school teachers, university/college faculty, and mathematics researchers attend the program. Each of these 'groups' has a specific program tailored to their appropriate level and interests for the 3 weeks. However, one of the main goals of the IAS/PCMI summer sessions is not only to learn a great deal about the summer's focus topic, but for there to be a high level of interaction and discussion among all of the groups participating in the program, and all of the participants are welcome to attend the programs of any of the other groups in addition to their own.

A note on the environment for women: I did not feel I was treated particularly positively or negatively for being a woman at the session, which I appreciated. Also, there were, as might be expected, more men than women at the program, but the difference wasn't extreme.

I would highly recommend the IAS/PCMI Summer Program to other undergraduate and graduate students. However, I would strongly suggest that one have taken at least one, if not more, courses in or related to the topic of the conference in order to benefit fully from attending.