On behalf of the Department of Mathematics at ETH Zürich and SwissMAP, welcome to the ETH Math Youth Academy. This is a recently-established project, especially designed for Kurzzeitgymnasium students who want to engage in creative thinking and to delve deeper into exciting mathematics. The regular weekly classes are in the form of mini-courses on various extracurricular topics. The official website of the project is available here.
All interested gymnasium students in the Zürich area, above the age of 14 (students in Kurzzeitgymnasium).
Weekly classes on mathematics topics outside of the regular gymnasium curriculum. There is an abundance of interesting, inspiring, and conceptual mathematics that is totally accessible to high school students, but for which there is unfortunately no place in the gymnasium curriculum, since there is a lot of material to be covered there already. For a glimpse of some sample topics, click here. In fact, these fascinating pieces of mathematics often fall outside of the usual university curriculum as well. They are completely supplementary and extracurricular and are not at all meant to be preparation for tests or exams in school.
The focus in the lectures will be on establishing techniques and developing theory, rather than on isolated problem-solving. The writing of rigorous proofs will be heavily emphasized. At the beginning, classes will consist of mini-courses, 2-4 lectures each, organized by topics, in a way that in each mini-course, we start completely from scratch, establish some foundation on which we step to develop techniques and eventually get to nontrivial and more involved illustrations and applications. Later on in this course, we will be spending more time on a single topic, in order to delve deeper into it.
There is no specific background required, beyond being fully comfortable with the current school class material. Thus, students from all years in the gymnasium (Kurzzeitgymnasium) are welcome. In fact, those in their early years are particularly encouraged to participate, since we can build background over the years and get to deeper and more sophisticated mathematics in the upcoming years. The only real prerequisite is having interests and motivation for further extracurricular pursuits in mathematics.
The language of instruction will be English; however, students who are still at a beginner's level with it should not be scared, as we will make all efforts to quickly immerse them into mathematical English. There is only some very limited vocabulary needed, and only a few basic grammatical constructions are actually used. A natural outcome of the classes would be that very soon, students will be comfortable with mathematical English.
Goals include further popularizing mathematics at high school level, discovering and developing talent, as well as providing further preparation for university studies in mathematics or related disciplines. Training for mathematical olympiads will be a byproduct but not the main goal in itself. In fact, the classes will be thought in a style that shrinks the gap between mathematical olympiads preparation on the one hand and theoretical university-level mathematics on the other. This will also have the effect of softening the transition from high school to university.
Other countries have long-standing traditions in such activities for high school students, run by universities. Recently, there have been initiatives to establish a similar culture in Switzerland, and hence the grant from the Swiss government funding this project at ETH Zürich.
The classes are free of charge and for no official credit or grades, just for the personal enrichment, enjoyment, and satisfaction of the academic curiosity of the students. Additionally, there is no commitment on the students' side: they may come to the first few classes and decide if they like it or not, and whether they would like to continue attending. Moreover, students can attend as often as their schedules allow (of course, we encourage them to attend as regularly as they can afford). So, we encourage students in doubt to give it a try.
For students with more advanced background, or with experience with extracurricular mathematics, there is a separate advanced class. The style of teaching and philosophy are similar as in the main class on Wednesdays, but the treated topics are more difficult. In addition, the advanced mini-courses are slightly longer, 4-6 lectures each.
This article in the Bulletin of the VSMP, Issue 131, has been addressed specifically to mathematics teachers and includes a full detailed class sample, giving readers a concrete idea of how a class at the ETH Math Youth Academy looks like.
The project was featured at ETH News: Creative proofs with pigeons and boxes.
The following one-page article has been written for the European Mathematical Society Newsletter and is addressed to the entire mathematical community in Europe.
The classes in Fall 2016 will resume the week of September 19. There will be three levels. The main course, intended for students who participate for the first time, will be taking place on Wednesdays in ML F 34 (on Sonneggstrasse 3). The first few classes will take place from 18:00 to 20:00, and afterwards, we may shift to an earlier time slot (17:30 or 17:15), depending on where the participants travel from and what their schedules are. The intermediate class meets on Thursdays from 17:15 to 19:00 in ML H 34.3 and the advanced class meets on Tuesdays from 17:15 to 19:00 in ML H 34.3 (all locations are on Sonneggstrasse 3).
This is an initiative that we have recently launched, and we are working hard on popularizing it. So, if you are reading this and know high school mathematics teachers or students in the Zürich area who might be interested, we would kindly ask you to please forward this information. Thank you!
This is a public talk I have gaven at KS Baden. It is accessible to a broad audience.
I was invited by Literargymnasium Rämibühl to give this public talk. It is accessible to a broad audience.
This is a public talk in cryptography that I have given at the American University in Bulgaria. Is it possible for two parties to establish a common secret, if they are only allowed to interact through an insecure channel? The talk is fully accessible to mathematics bachelors students, as well as to advanced high school students, who are familiar with elementary number theory (specifically with modular arithmetic).