# PRIMES: Akhil Mathew's Story

*How did you get interested in research mathematics?*

I was always interested in thinking about mathematics, from reading various books on the subject as a child. I thought it would be fun to think about unsolved problems. The RSI program gave me such an opportunity.

*What role did your mentors play in developing that interest?*

The mentorship at MIT is excellent. The overall expertise of my mentor Dustin Clausen was amazing; I learned a great deal of mathematical lore ranging from bits of category theory to universal constructions in algebraic geometry from our daily conversations during the RSI program. Professor Etingof has a remarkable ability to choose problems at a level designed for both accessibility and intellectual challenge. Most of all, his active interest in mentoring students at multiple levels is admirable.

*What were you able to achieve?*

I was able to prove certain results about certain newly defined families of categories, roughly that they had "generically" similar properties to well-known categories.

*How does feel to do mathematical research?*

Doing mathematical research can be really fun. Being absorbed in a problem that takes weeks for a newcomer to understand is a highly enjoyable experience. It led me to think about things far more deeply than I was accustomed to doing for standard coursework or outside reading.

*Should high school students with similar interests come to PRIMES?*

Working on research projects was by far the most intellectually stimulating part of my high school days. I learned both about the process of how mathematics is done and the culture of mathematics. I additionally became aware of how much more there was to mathematics than I had previously been exposed to, and how much fun it could be. I recommend it!

**Akhil Mathew**, the 3rd prize in the
Intel STS and 3rd in mathematics at ISEF.

**Email us:**
primes@math.mit.edu