Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Congrats to Dr. Richard Tapia for the National Medal of Science

Yesterday, President Obama announced the seven 2011 recipients of the National Medal of Science and in this group is Dr. Richard Tapia of Rice University. Dr. Tapia will be awarded the medal in ceremonies next month for his pioneering and fundamental contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and for his dedication and sustained efforts in fostering diversity and excellence in mathematics and science education.

Dr. Tapia is the son of Mexican immigrants and the first one in his family to go to college. He is a member of one of the professional societies that I belong to -- SIAM, which first made me aware of the great news.

Rice University has issued a press release, which contains an interview with Dr. Tapia and comments by Dr. Neal Lane, the former head of the National Science Foundation.You can access the release and video here.

Personally, I knew one National Medal of Science winner well and that was Dr. Val Haensel of UMass Amherst, who has since passed away. A photo of him with his lovely wife, my former Dean Dr. Tom O'Brien, our then Provost, Dr. Cora Marrett, presently of NSF, and some other friends, can be found on this blog.