Math at Top Speed
April 14, 2015
Richard A. Tapia
University Professor and Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering, Rice University
Come hear National Medal of Science winner and 1968-70 drag racing world champion, Richard Tapia, deftly explain the delightful math lurking everywhere around us and which suffuses his personal life: from his son's BMX bicycle racing to his own passion, drag racing. Richard is all about math at top speed.
About the Speaker
Dr. Richard A. Tapia was born to parents who immigrated from Mexico as young children in search of education. He is internationally known for his research in the computational and mathematical sciences and is a national leader in education and outreach. His current Rice positions are University Professor (only the sixth individual afforded this title in the 100 year history of Rice University), Maxfield Oshman Professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics , and Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education. Among his many honors, Richard Tapia was a 2010 awardee of the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers, he was the first Hispanic elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 1996 President Clinton appointed him to the National Science Board. From 2001 to 2004 he chaired the National Research Council's Board on Higher Education and the Workforce. He has received the National Science Foundation's inaugural Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; and the Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also named one of 20 most influential leaders in minority math education by the National Research Council. This year Hispanic Business Magazine named Tapia one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the country. Two professional conferences have been named in his honor, recognizing his contributions to diversity: Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing conference and the Blackwell-Tapia Conference, whose founders described Tapia as a seminal figure who inspired a generation of African-American, Native American and Latino/Latina students to pursue careers in mathematics. Professor Tapia is recognized as a national leader in diversity and has provided leadership at a national level.