12 Years of Wolfram Science Summer School Data Analytics
November 11, 2013 — Abigail Nussey, Wolfram Science Summer School Event Director
Applications are now open for the 2014 Wolfram Science Summer School, the twelfth year it’s been held. Over my six years of participation in the school (as Event Director, student, and instructor), I’ve met a lot of people from all over the world, seen a lot of interesting projects (many of which turned into theses, papers, and products), and worked on my own projects as well. Some of my favorite student projects over the years have been in economics, medicine, finance, and music.
We’ve had 342 participants (not counting repeaters) since 2003, the first year of the school. Thirty participants attended the school multiple times (usually twice). And our most recent year, 2013, had by far the most participants of any year.
Wolfram Science Summer School students have come from 51 countries, with the United States the most represented (158 attendees) and China and Brazil the next (15 attendees each).
Many students attended or worked at institutions in countries other than their country of origin. Below is a spinnable globe that shows in which cities participants studied or worked before attending the Summer School:
Most people who have attended the Summer School have been in their twenties, weighted toward the early twenties, with 35 unique participants who were 21 at the time of their attendance. The youngest participant was Wiktor Macura at age 14, and the oldest participant was the late Dr. Gerhard Werner, at age 87.
Summer School students represent a wide variety of fields of study and expertise. Math and science are the most represented fields, with computer science and social sciences the next most represented. Note that some students fall into more than one field of study or expertise.
Once students get to the Summer School, mathematics is the most popular topic. The next most popular is physics, with cellular automata, social science, economics and finance, and biology the next most popular topics. Note that as above, students might have overlapping topics, like cellular automata and physics.
Data analytics like we ran on the Summer School alumni above are in fact what many instructors and participants use as a tool to do their projects. For instance, see these Wolfram Blog posts by Stephen Wolfram, Carlo Barbieri, and Paul-Jean Letourneau.
What can we conclude from our analytics? Our participation rates are growing; the Wolfram Science Summer School is a global school, attracting strong international participation; mathematicians, scientists, and computer scientists are our most represented student base, but we have a large contingent in the social sciences; and alumni both seek to return and to encourage others to participate.
Interested in applying for the 2014 Wolfram Science Summer School? The application form is here. And since one of my keenest pleasures as Event Director is meeting new and interesting people, I encourage you to first take a look at Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science, then apply.
Questions about the Wolfram Science Summer School can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.