Ricardo Cortez
Ricardo Cortez (photo: Paula Burch-Celentano)

Tulane University math professor Ricardo Cortez, who is internationally regarded as a leading researcher in fluid dynamics and mathematical modeling, has been chosen as the 2012 recipient of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize, which will be presented in November.

In 2010, Cortez received the Distinguished Undergraduate Institution Mentor Award from the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. In addition to his mentoring, teaching, and research, Cortez co-founded and is now the director of the Center for Computational Science at Tulane.

Cortez earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Berkeley in 1995, advised by Alexandre Chorin. In addition to his degree, Cortez’s new honor has another Berkeley connection built right into its name: the Blackwell in Blackwell-Tapia recognizes the late David Blackwell, a longtime professor of statistics at UC Berkeley. His name is also preserved in the Rao-Blackwell theorem in statistics, Blackwell was the first black tenured faculty member at Berkeley, and was the first African-American inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. The other prize namesake is Richard Tapia, a Rice University mathematician and champion of underrepresented minorities in the sciences. (Tapia is another product of the UC system; all three of his degrees are from UCLA.) The two are seminal figures who inspired a generation of African-American, Native American and Latino/Latina students to pursue careers in mathematics.

Cortez will be the guest of honor at at the seventh Blackwell-Tapia Conference, hosted by the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics. It will take place November 9 and 10 at Brown University. The Blackwell-Tapia Prize. The prize honors a mathematical scientist who has contributed significantly to research in his or her field of expertise and who has served as a role model for mathematical scientists and students from underrepresented minority groups or has contributed in other significant ways to addressing the problem of the underrepresentation of minorities in mathematics.

In the last National Research Council assessment, UC Berkeley’s graduate statistics program was ranked first in the U.S. (tied with Stanford).

Read the full announcement of the conference and the prize to Ricardo Cortez

Biography of David Blackwell