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PRIMES: Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering and Science for High School Students

In mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them.
- John von Neumann

PRIMES is a free, year-long after-school research program for high school students. PRIMES includes four sections: MIT PRIMES, PRIMES-USA, PRIMES Circle, and PRIMES STEP.

MIT PRIMES offers research projects and guided reading to students living within driving distance from Boston. Program participants work with MIT researchers on exciting unsolved problems in mathematics, computer science, and computational biology.

PRIMES-USA is a distance mentoring math research section for high school juniors from across the United States (outside of Greater Boston).

PRIMES Circle is a math enrichment section for high school students from underrepresented groups living within commuting distance from Boston.

PRIMES STEP is a math enrichment section for middle school students from Greater Boston.

Applications to MIT PRIMES and PRIMES-USA are open (deadline: December 1)

Applications to PRIMES Circle are open (deadline: November 15)

Congratulations to PRIMES student Felix Wang for winning Davidson Fellow Award ($25,000 scholarship)!!!

Seventh annual PRIMES conference materials and photos


Message from PRIMES Chief Research Advisor Pavel Etingof

Photo of Pavel Etingof

Welcome to PRIMES!

Mathematics is a unique and wonderful way of life. The goal of PRIMES is to allow high school students to discover the beauty of being a research mathematician, so that more of them choose mathematical research as their profession. In this program you will learn, through a first-hand experience, how mathematicians ask and answer questions, look for patterns and form conjectures, discuss their work and collaborate with each other, read and write mathematical texts, make and correct mistakes, feel frustrated and elated, give talks, and use sophisticated computer systems. You will also be able to discover how mathematics can be applied to real life problems, for example, in molecular biology (in particular, in cancer research). And hopefully you will experience the unforgettable thrill of proving a new theorem or solving a previously unsolved problem! This will develop into a lifelong passion for mathematics. I promise.

We look forward to receiving your application!

For more detail, see

Q&A with the Chief Research Advisor

How to Succeed in Mathematical Research

World-class research ... in the 10th grade (MIT News Office)

MIT PRIMES: Priming Talented Teens (Integral 2011, MIT Math Department Newsletter)

National Math Prize Winner Fell in Love with the Subject at MIT—During High School (MIT Continuum, March 26, 2015)

Mathematical Research in High School: The PRIMES Experience (Notices of the American Mathematical Society 62 (2015)); Chinese translation in Mathematical Advances in Translation 35:4 (2016): 348-359; summary in Spanish


In 2013 PRIMES opened a new math enrichment section, PRIMES Circle, dedicated to serving high school students from underrepresented groups living within commuting distance from Boston

See welcome message from PRIMES Circle Program Coordinator in 2013-2014, Dr. Chelsea Walton

PRIMES is sponsored by:

To sustain PRIMES, we need your help! Please choose the designation "PRIMES FUND IN MATHEMATICS (3895820)". We appreciate your support!

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With questions, contact PRIMES Program Director Dr. Slava Gerovitch at