• We’re running the second year of the Atlas Fellowship, a $10k scholarship and free 11-day program for high school students from across the world. I see it as a unique opportunity for talented young people to meet intellectual peers IRL and improve their thinking.
  • The core program covers areas like epistemic rationality, markets, agency, mathematical modeling, and integrity. Electives include ML, AGI risk, game theory, ending poverty, climate change, and fun math puzzles.
  • If you’re 19 or younger and haven’t started college, you can apply here by April 30! (Late applications due May 14.)
  • If you know a promising high school student, please nominate them. If you want to help us, share a post in places where talented young people hang out, or give your personal take on why people should (or should not) apply.
  • In case you’re interested in working with us: we’re hiring!

About the program

We’re excited about giving talented young people the opportunity to worry less about money or prestige and instead do something interesting that matters in the greater scheme of things.

Like an atlas, we want to help our participants navigate the world: Our program content centers on our current understanding of how to best figure stuff out (e.g., Fermi estimates, big history, Bayesian mindset, Hugging the Query, etc).

If you’re curious about how the world works, or want to make our civilization a little bit less inadequate, we want to support you with:

  • $10,000 for education and professional development,
  • A 11-day program where you’ll meet people who take ideas seriously, with whom you can have late-night discussions about why the agricultural revolution happened independently in several places, why movies portray human relationships inaccurately, or when LLMs will win the IMO,
  • The opportunity to collaborate with other fellows on projects even after the program, including tutoring for technical skills (e.g., linear algebra, writing, ML, AI alignment, game theory),
  • College admissions support, and access to the Atlas Fund that provides seed funding to projects and start-ups.

If this sounds interesting to you, apply here by April 30! (Late applications are due May 14. If you submit late, the only downside is that you’ll have less time for stage 2, which is due May 16.)

Why we’re doing this

From last year’s post:

The world is full of problems that are bottlenecked on talent. But much of the world’s talent is stuck in high school spending their free time rowing to get into Harvard or otherwise trying to send costly signals of academic ability. We think our program will give high school students the intellectual environment, courage, and resources to start working on things that matter instead.

From our FAQ:

We aim to transmit a culture inspired by scientific inquiry, with the ambition to tackle neglected global challenges. For instance, our staff strive for extreme intellectual honesty, emphasize probabilistic reasoning, and are interested in addressing large-scale issues such as potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence, future pandemics, or geopolitical instability. We are inspired by rationality and effective altruism, but see the Atlas community as an experiment in going beyond these communities.

(You may want to read the full FAQ item, it’s second from the bottom.)

Basically, I see a lot of the value of LessWrong coming from building a culture that’s unusually truth-seeking. I want to take the good parts of that culture, and combine it with other good things like entrepreneurial ambition or ideas that I think are important, and build a community of exceptional people who share this new intellectual environment, with the hope (and testable prediction) that good things will come from it. 

It should go without saying, but I feel compelled to add that our admissions process selects for rationality, intelligence, and agency (rather than things like value alignment), our program optimizes for intellectual and entrepreneurial development (rather than things like career plan changes), and we aim to carefully select instructors who we trust to help participants achieve and clarify their own values (rather than trying to change them).

Results from last year

  • We ran five programs in Berkeley and near Oxford, with a total of 111 participants. Fellows reported an overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend Atlas to friends of 9/10, both immediately after the program, and also several months later (in anonymized surveys with >80% response rates).
  • Several months after the program, the median fellow self-reported using everyday rationality techniques (e.g., noticing confusion, adjusting credences, finding cruxes) more often than in a baseline survey before the program, on a ~weekly instead of ~monthly basis.
  • Subjectively, I think it was a fairly transformative experience for ~30% of the fellows. Some greatly accelerated their long-term learning about CS, math, ML, and/or AI safety, some reported that it was the first time adults took their arguments seriously or gained higher self-efficacy to build interesting projects, some made long-term friends with intellectual peers.


If you have any questions, check out our FAQ, leave a comment, or email or We’d love to hear from you!


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