Ross Mathematics Program

Ross Mathematics Program

The Ross Mathematics Program is an intensive eight-week residential summer camp for high school students interested in mathematics. The program is currently run by Dr. Daniel Shapiro and is based out of the Ohio State University.


The Ross Program is named after Professor Arnold Ross, who created the program at the University of Notre Dame in 1957 and ran it every summer until 2000. The central goal of the Ross Program has always been to instruct and encourage bright young students in the art of abstract thinking and to inspire them to discover for themselves that abstract ideas are valuable and important. The program's motto has become: "Think deeply of simple things."

Program Overview

The core of the program for first year students is a single course in number theory. Students attend daily lectures, participate in seminar groups, and work at their own pace through rigorous problem sets (which they receive in class every day). Students spend most of their time working on these sets, and, in doing so, gain an understanding both of number theory and the mathematical process itself. They investigate numerical patterns and draw conjectures based on their observations, and, later, revisit their ideas to prove them rigorously, and, finally, to generalize them to other contexts.

Students turn in problem sets to counselors as they complete them. Counselors review their students' work carefully and make detailed comments. There are no "grades" or anything similar; instead, counselors ask students to redo problems done incorrectly or incompletely, occasionally posing additional questions as mini-assignments for students to investigate.

Students who do well in the program may return for a second year, and many become junior counselors. Junior counselors finish the number theory sets, take advanced courses in topics such as group theory, geometry, and combinatorics, and work with the counselors in encouraging and assisting younger students. Counselors, too, may take advanced courses. Mathematical activity outside the number theory core also includes lectures and short courses by guest speakers on a variety of topics.

Students, junior counselors, and counselors all live together in a single dormitory on the Ohio State campus. By working on and discussing mathematics together throughout the summer, the program participants become a close-knit "community of scholars." One of the goals of the program is to give high school students an experience similar to that of a research scientist or mathematician.

All counselors are college students or college-bound and have at least two years of experience in the program.

The Ross Legacy and Alumni

The program has incubated many great mathematicians, and a few alumni have created summer programs of their own. Such programs include PROMYS at Boston University (Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists), and the Texas State University Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State University. Notable alumni include Robert Coleman, Brian Conrad, David Harbater, Jacob Lurie, Karl Rubin, Daniel Shapiro, Glenn Stevens, and Max Warshauer.

In 2001 and 2007, Ross Reunions were held at Ohio State, and every Ross alum was invited. The former was held to commemorate the founder, Arnold Ross, and raise funds to keep the program running. The latter was held in the summer of 2007, as the Fiftieth Anniversary of the program. Several guest lectures were held, covering topics such as math, meteorology, economics, mazes, graphics, and, not surprisingly, number theory.

External links

* [ Official Website]

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