Ciro Santilli  Sponsor 中国独裁统治 China Dictatorship 新疆改造中心、六四事件、法轮功、郝海东、709大抓捕、2015巴拿马文件 邓家贵、低端人口、西藏骚乱
One of the causes Ciro Santilli care the most about: motivation.
Ciro Santilli's view of the ideal teaching method: how to teach.
A list of complaints against education: Section "Education is broken".
How to improve education? Simple:

Education is broken

words: 820 articles: 2
Once Ciro was at a University course practical session, and a graduate was around helping out. Ciro asked if what the graduate did anything specifically related to the course, and they replied they didn't. And they added that:
One has to put the bread on the table.
Even though Ciro was already completely disillusioned by then, that still made an impression on him. Something is really wrong with this shit.
Other people that think that the educational system is currently bullshit as of 2020:
Video 1.
Peter Gregory from Silicon Valley shows his hate for university in a fake TED talk
. Source. Key moment: someone from the crowd cries:
The true value of a college education is intangible!
to which the speaker replies:
The true value of snake oil is intangible as well.
IMDb says it's not a cameo. It really looked like one, good acting, but what a missed opportunity. Imagine a Xavier Niel appearance.
Video 2.
David Deutsch on Education interviewed by Aidan McCullen (2019)
. Source.
Key quote that hits the nail:
[...] the existing assumptions behind educational systems are that the purpose of education is to transmit valuable knowledge faithfully from on generation to the next. From people who already have that knowledge, to people who don't.
So the knowledge is conceived of as a kind of valuable fluid, which you pour from one generation to the next, pour it into their brains.
So right... the purpose of education is not to teach facts. The purpose of education is to propose ways of thinking, which students themselves must try to apply and decide if it suits them! And use the patterns of thinking that are useful to reach their goals.
Like Noam Chomsky, he proposes education has been a system of indoctrination more than anything else e.g.
All compulsory education, "tough" or not, "love" or not, in camps or not, and whether it "traumatises" or not, is a violation of human rights.
At another good quote by Churchill:
Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested.
The same video also mentions in passing that john Wheeler used to be Deutsch's boss, but I can't find a reference for it very easily.
Video 3.
Quote selection by Charles Bukowski (2016)
. Source.
Generally speaking, you're free until you're about 4 years old. Then you go to grammar school and then you start becoming... oriented and shoved into areas. You lose what individualism you have, if you have enough of course, you retain some of it... Then you work the 8 hour job with almost a feeling of goodness, like you're doing something. Then you get married like marriage is a victory, and you have children like children is a victory... Marriage, birth, children. It's something they have to do because there's nothing else to do. There's no glory in it, there's no steam, there's no fire. It's very, very flat... You get caught into the stricture of what you're supposed to be and you have no other choice. You're finally molded and melded into what you're supposed to be. I didn't like this.
Whenever Ciro Santilli walks in front of a school and sees the tall gates it makes him sad. Maybe 8 year olds need gates. But do we need to protect 15 year olds like that? Students should be going out to see the world, both good and evil not hiding from it! We should instead be guiding them to the world. But instead, we are locking them up in brainwashing centers.
Video "The Purpose of Education by Noam Chomsky (2012)" puts it well, education can be either be:
He has spoken about that infinitely, e.g. from when he was thin:

Educational technology

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words: 3
See also: e-learning website.

Gifted education

words: 69 articles: 6
If school weren't bullshit, 99% of students would be in gifted education for what they truly love and are good at.
What is sad about many programs is that they are exclusivist and non scalable, selecting people some how and non scalably educating them. We need a more "here's some projects let's do them whoever can" approach to things, maybe like Google Summer of Code.
Related programs:

Magnet school

words: 4 articles: 1
Found them through: Epic.


words: 561 articles: 21
Basically the same remarks as for university, just 10 times more useless, see also: Section "Motivation".

Academic term

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Spring term

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This actually happens in Winter. But they are so fucking euphemistic that winter has to be removed from the calendar.

Summer term

words: 23
This actually happens in spring. But because they are so euphemistic winter had to be removed from the calendar, it gets shifted a left.

Innovative school

words: 504 articles: 15
Basically schools that follows Ciro Santilli's ideas as shown at how to teach.

eLearning provider

words: 20 articles: 2
words: 17
Mentava's software-based daily tutor gets students on track for college-level math and computer science before high school.
Login walls. Lol.

Innovative high school

words: 136 articles: 5
Video 4.
Aprender em Comunidade by Prof. José Pacheco
. Source. In Portuguese. Title translation: "Learn in community".
XP School (Doncaster, UK, 2014-)
words: 107 articles: 1
Amazing self-directed learning direction:
The pupils have a parents' evening coming up but instead of their teachers giving an account of their progress, it is a "student-led conference" at which they must present a portfolio of their work, explain what they are most proud of and discuss where they need to put in more effort. mentions that the founder was inspired by other schools: High Tech High and Expeditionary Learning.
Lots of focus on showcase student work.
The founder Gwyn ap Harri is quite dirty mouthed, which is also cool.
Ciro Santilli tried to contact them in 2021 at: and on website contact form to see if we could do some project together, but no reply.
U-Math (UK)
words: 15 articles: 1
Dan Abramson
words: 15
Dan, if you ever Google yourself here, please contact Ciro Santilli: Section "How to contact Ciro Santilli" to do something with Cheers.

Innovative university course

words: 327 articles: 2
This one has students must have a flexible choice of what to learn on the name! Sounds interesting!ências_Moleculares
Good Portuguese overview:
A fantastic sounding full time 4-year course that any student could transfer to called that teaches various natural science topics, notably mathematics, physics, chemistry and molecular biology.
Many past students Ciro talked to however share a common frustration with the course: in the first 2 years at least, the "basic cycle", you have infinitely many courses, and no time to study, and no choice of what to study, it is only in the latter 2 years (the advanced cycle) that you get the choices.
Also, if you get low grades in a single subject, your out. And exams are useless of course.
Here's a Quora question in Portuguese about the course:, the only decent answer so far being: Very disappointing to hear.
On the advanced cycle, you have a lot of academic freedom. You are basically supposed to pick a research project with an advisor and go for it, with a small ammount of mandatory course hours. Ciro was told in 2022 that you can even have advisors from other universities or industry, and that it is perfectly feasible to take courses in another university and valiate the course hours later on. Fantastic!!!
Students from the entire University of São Paulo can apply to transfer to it only after joining the university, with the guarantee that they can go back to their original courses if they don't adapt to the new course, which is great!
Not doing it is one of Ciro Santilli's regrets in life, see also: don't be a pussy.
Around 2007, they were in a really shady building of the University, but when Ciro checked in 2021, they had apparently moved to a shiny new entrepreneurship-focused building. Fantastic news!!!
This place has one of the best changes of spawning the first Brazilian Nobel Prize or unicorn.
One of the Brazilians who came to École Polytechnique together with Ciro was from this course. The fact that he is one of the most intelligent people Ciro knows gave further credit to that course in his eyes.

Independent programming schools

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42 (school)
words: 11
No teachers, no courses, no tuition fees. Yes please!!! By Xavier Niel.

Education level

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articles: 2


words: 10k articles: 290
This section is present in another page, follow this link to view it.


words: 736 articles: 45

Academia is broken

words: 321 articles: 6
Sometimes Ciro Santilli regrets not having done a PhD. But this section makes him feel better about himself. To be fair, part of the merit is on him, part of the reason he didn't move on was the strong odour of bullshit oozing down to Masters level. A good PhH might have opened interesting job opportunities however, given that you don't really learn anything useful before that point in your education.
The "real world" is full of people who couldn't make it in academia.
Video 5.
I failed in academia by Andy Stapleton (2021)
. Source.
Video 6.
6 Dirty Tactics Found In Academia & Universities by Andy Stapleton (2022)
. Source.
Video 7.
Rise to the Top: The Habits and Mindset of Top 0.1% PhD Students by Andy Stapleton (2023)
. Source.
Figure 1.
Profzi scheme by PhD Comics
A Ponzi scheme that trains people in new skills is not necessarily a terrible thing. It is a somewhat more useful version than standard exam based education.
Perhaps the problem is "forcing" 35 year olds to go down that path when they might also want to have boring stuff like families and security.
If people could get to the PhD level much, much sooner, it wouldn't be as obscene: Section "Students must be allowed to progress as fast as they want".
Video 8.
The broken system at the heart of Academia by Peter Judo (2023)
. Source.
Video 9.
My dream died, and now I'm here by Sabine Hossenfelder (2024)
. Source.
One of the world’s most cited scientists, Rafael Luque, suspended without pay for 13 years
The prolific chemist, who has published a study every 37 hours this year
You can't apparently fire someone in academia!
Rafael Luque, has been suspended without pay for the next 13 years

Academic fraud

words: 62 articles: 2
Jan Hendrik Schön
words: 62 articles: 1
Schön scandal
words: 62
One is reminded of Nick Leeson.
One things must be said: the root cause of all of this is the replication crisis.
This is why he managed to go on for so long.
People felt it was normal to have to try for one or two years to replicate a paper.
Video 10.
The man who almost faked his way to a Nobel Prize by BobbyBroccoli (2021)
. Source. Playlist:

Research group

articles: 1

Academic publishing (Research paper)

words: 380 articles: 31
Closed access academic journals are evil.
One of the most beautiful things is how they paywall even public domain works. E.g. here: was published in 1927, and is therefore in the public domain as of 2023. But it is of course just paywalled as usual throughout 2023. There is zero incentive for them to open anything up.
Video 11.
What they don't tell you about academic publishing by Andy Stapleton (2021)
. Source.
Video 12.
The publishing scandal happening right now by Andy Stapleton (2023)
. Source. TOOD get the name of the academic who quit.

Academic journal

words: 95 articles: 13
Impact factor
words: 35
This metric is so dumb! It only helps maintain existing closed journals closed! Why not just do a PageRank on the articles themselve instead? Like the h-index does for authors? That would make so much more sense!
British academic journal
words: 9 articles: 1
Ended up under Springer in 2015 after a massive merger.
German physics journal
words: 51 articles: 3
Publications by the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
Links to their publications:
Notable papers:
This was the God OG physics journal of the early 20th century, before the Nazis fucked German science back to the Middle Ages!
Notable papers:
Belongs to Springer, so you can still find papers under paywalls on their website.
Notable papers:

Academic paper

articles: 1

Academic publisher

words: 1 articles: 7
Closed access academic journals are evil.
articles: 1

Open access

words: 198 articles: 4
Closed access
words: 198 articles: 3
Closed access academic journal
words: 198 articles: 1
Fuck closed access academic journals are evils.
You are nothing but useless leeches in the Internet age.
You must go bankrupt all of you, ASAP.
Fuck Elsevier, fuck Springer, and fuck all the like.
Research paid with taxpayer money must be made available for free.
Researchers and reviewers all work for peanuts, while academic publishers get money for doing the work that an algorithm could do.
When Ciro learned URLs such as log you in automatically by IP, his mind blew! The level of institutionalization of this theft is off the charts! The institutionalization of theft is also clear from article prices, e.g. 32 dollars for a 5 page article.
Long live the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto by Aaron Swartz (2008).
Key physics papers from the 50's are still copyright encumbered as of 2020, see e.g. Lamb-Retherford experiment. Authors and reviewers got nothing for it. Something is wrong.
Infinite list of other people:
  • by Robert Važan:
    Scientific journals are perhaps one of the most damaging IP rackets. Scientists are funded by governments to do research and publish papers. Reviews of these papers are done by other publicly funded scientists. Even paper selection and formatting for publication is done by scientists. So what do journals actually do? Nearly nothing.
Video 13.
Academic Publishing by Dr. Glaucomflecken (2022)
. Source.
Part of the motivation letter required by some American universities explaining how amazing of a teacher you are, e.g.:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

words: 18 articles: 2


words: 18
Short for Doctor of Philosophy, it's how some weird places like the University of Oxford say PhD. In Oxford they also analogously say MPHil.

Learned society

words: 51 articles: 11

British learned society

words: 48 articles: 4

Institute of Physics

words: 4 articles: 1
Physics World
words: 4
Magazine of the Institute of Physics.

Royal Society

words: 44 articles: 1
They do two things:
One of Ciro Santilli's selfish desires.

German learned society

words: 3 articles: 1
Published as session reports of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences at Berlin.

Exam (Exams are useless)

words: 681 articles: 5
Exams as a prerequisite for a degree are useless. Exams as part of a degree must be abolished. And degrees must be abolished. Ultimately the only metrics that really matter are money and fame. See also: motivation.
The only thing exams should matter for is as a screening tool to select people with specific abilities that you care about as an employer or principal investigator. If:
  • you have no idea about what the content of specific exams are (and you don't because they are all ad-hoc university secrets)
  • or don't have a way to machine learn what grades correlate with your desired performance (you don't because where's the data?)
then exams are useless for your purposes. then might as well just go by interviews (basically what all employers do already, though not PIs). Degrees are too course grained to mean anything to anybody. Employers and PIs likely only care about very few specific subjects.
Once the question of an exam has been formulated, the usefulness of the problem is already been completely destroyed, because formulating the problem that matters is the most important part of things. And any problem with an answer, is useless to put effort into: give answers.
Furthermore, preventing people from searching for answers while answering an exam, AKA preventing "cheating", also makes absolutely no sense. In the real world, we want people to find answers as quickly as possible! We should be teaching people how to "cheat"! What we should teach them instead is what a fucking license is, and what you have to do to comply with it.
And if you must absolutely have exams, they must be open to anyone who wants to applies. Then people have to pay to take the exam, with subsidies for "official course takers", who are spending 100x more anyways due to not living with their parents.
And if you pass the exam, you pass the course, without any further time requirements.
And those exams must be applied by professional test application companies to ensure no cheating and to factor out the anti-cheat work, while still making the tests available to people anywhere.
A quote from Richard Feynman present in the book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman chapter O Americano, Outra Vez!:
You cannot get educated by this self-propagating system in which people study to pass exams, and teach others to pass exams, but nobody knows anything.
You learn something by doing it yourself, by asking questions, by thinking, and by experimenting.
The only metric that matters is "to feel that you've satisfied youre curiosity". When one studies for that, it can take a lot more time to actually learn everything, because it is sometimes not as clear when you should stop. But it is the only way to go deeper.
A person's understanding is the most illiquid asset that exists, to judge that based only on standardized exams, is a certain way to fail to identify top talent.
Related: exams and homework are useless, only projects matter
This is Ciro Santilli's name for the idea that we should not have structured degrees at university that require entry exams, only tests that anybondy could take, likely for free, and then they would just have proof that they know the stuff for e.g. teachers that care about a subject while selecting students to work with them in research.
We just need control rooms where someone can watch students for cheating. Multiple different exams can be taken in the same room of course, students just have to sign up in advance. The exams should happen regularly depending on demand. E.g. extremelly common subjects should happen every month, and highly specialized ones every 6 months or 1 year.
Questions should be always taken from an open question pool which also contains answers, thus allowing anyone to effectively study for it.
How many questions can you actually come up with about a given non research subject, right?
We then make an API available, so that students can grant access to specific results to anyone they choose, or even make the results public for anyone to see. This way the people that care about the exams can just machine learn what exams correlate with their desired performance.


articles: 1

Grade (exam)

words: 2
See: exam.


words: 4
Same remarks as Section "Exam (Exams are useless)".

Philosophy of education

words: 989 articles: 60

Teaching method

words: 696 articles: 56
By Ciro Santilli: Section "How to teach".


words: 98 articles: 3
There are two types of people:
  • those who are autodidacts
  • those who didn't really learn
Some possible definitions:
  • learning without a gun pointed at your head
  • learning from an e-book or video rather than from a talking head 5 rows of chairs in front of you
    How that is different from a video, you tell me.
Self-directed learning
words: 41 articles: 2
Ciro Santilli's eulogy: students must have a flexible choice of what to learn.
Inferior compared to self-directed learning, but better than the traditional "everyone gets the same" approach.
Video 14.
Project SOCRATES at Illinois University Urban-Champaign (1966)
. Source. It is 2020, and we are not there yet. God!
Video 15.
Learning Approach Uncollege by Dale Stephens (2011)
. Source.

Extracurricular activity

words: 363 articles: 31
You know things are bad when the extracurricular activities are what studnets should actually be doing full time instead!
Extracurricular school
words: 11 articles: 1
Very focused on the International Mathematical Olympiad, notably they maintain all solutions at:
Summer school
words: 335 articles: 28
Pre-university summer school
words: 335 articles: 27
PROMYS (1989)
words: 335 articles: 26
The good:
The bad: everything else. Closed source learning materials + a university-like selection program. Such a waste of efforts that could benefit way more people with more open resources. asking to remove PROMYS problems from MathOverflow. And it seems to have been mostly accepted. Newbs. Any maths problem should be allowed to be askeable online. There are no fundamentally new problems, copyright takedown is just silly.
PROMYS Europe (2015-)
words: 231 articles: 25
European PROMYS offshoot hosted at the University of Oxford. Started in 2015.
The structure seems to be: come every day for 6 weeks, one problem sheet per day. Go.
Strongly against giving answer to problem sets... sad, as of 2024: (archive):
When do I get the solutions to the problems on the problem sets?
When you discover them for yourself: on your own or collaborating with other students. Returning students and counsellors and faculty will support and encourage you, but not by giving you the answers (hint: they don't even give hints). What PROMYS Europe does is offer you the tools and structure to enable you to be a creative mathematician.
What rules are there at PROMYS Europe?
They're mostly the ones you'd expect: don't do anything dangerous or illegal, don't divide by zero, don't even try to skip Friday Fun, and don't give anyone solutions to the problem sets (though collaboration is definitely OK).
It does not seem to be the case for the American version however after a quick look: Sad to see.
Also participants are strongly forbidden from sharing the problem sheets with anyone from outside the program. Ciro Santilli asked a participant face to face if he could take a look, but was told that they are not allowed to share it. So it is a very clear and strict order. Truly sad.
PROMYS Europe problem set
words: 10 articles: 23
Visible at:
PROMYS Europe 2024 problem set
words: 7 articles: 17
Set 2
words: 7 articles: 16
words: 1
Section "Greatest common divisor (GCD)".
words: 6

Give answers to problem sets

words: 5 articles: 1
Ciro Santilli's take on it: Section "Give answers".
articles: 1

Montessori education

words: 13 articles: 1
Bezos Academy
words: 13
Bezos Academy is building a network of tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

Paulo Freire

words: 122
During his childhood and adolescence, Freire ended up four grades behind, and his social life revolved around playing pick-up football with other poor children, from whom he claims to have learned a great deal. These experiences would shape his concerns for the poor and would help to construct his particular educational viewpoint. Freire stated that poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn. These experiences influenced his decision to dedicate his life to improving the lives of the poor: "I didn't understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn't dumb. It wasn't lack of interest. My social condition didn't allow me to have an education. Experience showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge"
OMG so nice.

Peer tutoring

words: 7 articles: 1
Because there is value in tutorials written by beginners:
Ciro Santilli's definition, key characteristics:

Learn in public

words: 37 articles: 2
This is the most extreme and final form of Peer tutoring, it's natural final consequence given the Internet Age.
Evergreen notes
words: 20 articles: 1
Sample usage by Andy Matuschak (possible coiner):
Andy Matuschak
words: 15
Proponent of evergreen notes.
He's also curious about quantum computing: like Ciro Santilli. Some crazy overlaps we get.

Project-based learning

words: 12 articles: 1
There is just one key gotcha: the project has to be useful.
Example from École Polytechnique: Figure "A typical small classroom at École Polytechnique". Terminology by location: Places that say "problem set":
Places that say "problem sheet":
Places that say "example sheet":
Plaintext file of An English translation by Barbara Foxley from 1911 on Project Gutenberg: which is in the Public domain in the United States.
Can't find a French txt,Émile,_ou_De_l’éducation/Édition_1782 has a PDF though.
Figure 3.
Front cover of the first edition of Emile, or On Education.
. Source.
Good summary on the defunct Encyclopedia Britannica:
it is not specifically about schooling but about the upbringing of a rich man’s son, Émile, by a tutor who is given unlimited authority over him. Rousseau’s aim throughout Émile is to show how a natural education, unlike the artificial and formal education of society, enables Émile to become social, moral, and rational while remaining true to his original nature
He learns a trade, among other things. He studies science, not by receiving instruction in its facts but by making the instruments necessary to solve scientific problems of a practical sort.
Book 1:
I do not consider these laughable establishments called Colleges as a public institution.
There are in several schools, and especially in the University of Paris, Professors whom I like, whom I esteem very much, and whom I believe very capable of instructing young people well, if they were not forced to follow established usage. I urge one of them to publish the reform project he designed. We will perhaps finally be tempted to cure the illness by seeing that it is not without a remedy.
Je n’envisage pas comme une institution publique ces risibles établissements qu’on appelle Colleges
Il y a dans plusieurs écoles, & surtout dans l’Université de Paris, des Professeurs que j’aime, que j’estime beaucoup, & que je crois très capables de bien instruire la jeunesse, s’ils n’étoient forcés de suivre l’usage établi. J’exhorte l’un d’entre eux à publier le projet de réforme qu’il a conçu. L’on sera peut-être enfin tenté de guérir le mal en voyant qu’il n’est pas sans remède.

Student culture

articles: 2



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