The SUMaC courses focus on pure mathematics—that is, mathematics that is motivated independently of ties to other sciences—nonetheless, important applications are introduced and pursued along the way. The SUMaC courses are not for credit or grade—they are designed for pure mathematical enrichment.
SUMaC offers two courses with unique topics for each course. Participants are enrolled in just one program during the summer, and the two programs allow participants to potentially return for a second summer. The two programs take place simultaneously from July 15–August 10, 2019.
Both programs feature the research project where participants pursue course topics in greater depth. This project is one of the highlights of SUMaC. For this activity, participants initially work in groups under the leadership of the Teaching Assistants, and using journal articles, advanced textbooks, and other materials. At the end of the course, participants give presentations on their topics to their peers, giving them experience in the important activity of communicating mathematics.
SUMaC is funded, in part, by the American Mathematical Society Epsilon Fund and by the Stanford Department of Mathematics.
Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC) began in Fall 1994 when Professors Rafe Mazzeo and Ralph Cohen obtained funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to develop a new program in mathematics at Stanford intended for high school students. Dr. Rick Sommer soon joined the founding team.
SUMaC enrolled just 12 students in 1995, and then grew to 36 students by 1996. The founding team decided to keep enrollment at SUMaC to a maximum of 40 students in order to preserve key features of the SUMaC experience.
The Program II course was offered for the first time in 1997 to a group of just four students returning from the previous year. In the coming years Program II grew to include approximately 40% of the SUMaC participants each year, and the Program II topics have varied from Complex Analysis to Topology.
In its first year, all SUMaC students came from Northern California, mainly the San Francisco Bay Area. In year two, students joined from throughout California. By 1997, SUMaC was attracting students from out of state. The first international students joined in 1998. Over the years, SUMaC has hosted students from more than 50 countries.