# Richard A. Tapia

Richard A. Tapia | |
---|---|

Born | Santa Monica, California | March 25, 1939

Nationality | American |

Alma mater | UCLA |

Known for | mathematical optimization, |

Awards | Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, National Medal of Science |

Scientific career | |

Fields | Mathematics |

Institutions | Rice University |

Doctoral advisor | Magnus Hestenes, Charles Tompkins |

**Richard Alfred Tapia** (born March 25, 1939) is an American mathematician and champion of under-represented minorities in the sciences.^{[1]} In recognition of his broad contributions, in 2005, Tapia was named "University Professor" at Rice University in Houston, Texas, the University's highest academic title. The honor has been bestowed on only six professors in Rice's one-hundred-five-year history.^{[2]} On September 28, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Tapia was among twelve scientists to be awarded the National Medal of Science, the top award the United States offers its researchers.^{[3]} Tapia is currently the Maxfield and Oshman Professor of Engineering; Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Graduate Studies; and Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University.^{[4]}

Tapia's mathematical research is focused on mathematical optimization and iterative methods for nonlinear problems. His current research is in the area of algorithms for constrained optimization and interior point methods for linear and nonlinear programming.

## Contents

## Education[edit]

- Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1967 (Mathematics)
- Dissertation: "A Generalization of Newton's Method with an Application to the Euler–Lagrange Equation"
^{[5]} - Advisors: Magnus Hestenes, Charles Tompkins
^{[6]}

- Dissertation: "A Generalization of Newton's Method with an Application to the Euler–Lagrange Equation"
- M.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1966 (Mathematics)
- B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1961 (Mathematics)

## University positions[edit]

- 2005–present: University Professor, Rice University
- 2005–present: Maxfield and Oshman Professor of Engineering, Rice University
- 2000–present: Adjunct Professor, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Houston
- 1999–present: Director, Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, Rice University
- 1991–2005: Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University
- 1989–present: Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Rice University
- 1989–2000:Director of Education and Outreach Programs, Center for Research on Parallel Computation, Rice University
- 1986–1988: Lecturer, Department of Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
- 1978–1983: Adjunct Professor, T.I.R.R., (then called the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) Baylor College of Medicine
- 1978–1983: Chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Rice University
- 1976–present: Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Rice University
- 1972–1976: Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Rice University
- 1970–1972: Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Rice University
- 1968–1970: Assistant Professor, Army Mathematics Research Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison

## Honors and awards (selected)[edit]

- AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science, 2016.
- Vannevar Bush Award, 2014
- National Medal of Science, 2011.
- Hispanic Heritage Award in Math and Science, September 2009.
^{[7]} - Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession, Portland OR, July 2004.
^{[8]}^{[9]} - Community Service Award, University of California Los Angeles Alumni Association, Los Angeles, California, May 2004.
- Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology Magazine, "One of the 50 Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business" April 2004.
- Distinguished Public Service Award, American Mathematical Society, Phoenix, Arizona, January 2004.
- Texas Science Hall of Fame Inductee, Institute of Texan Cultures, University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, January 2002.
- Reginald H. Jones Distinguished Service Award, NACME, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, October 2001.
- Distinguished Scientist Award, Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2000.
- 1999 Giants in Science Award, Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network, Washington, D.C., February 1999.
- 1997 Lifetime Mentor Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 1998.
- Recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., September 1996.
- Appointed to the National Science Board by President Clinton, August 1996.
- National Academy of Engineering, February 1992.
- Was chosen to have a "Celebration of Diversity in Computing" conference
^{[10]}named after him (usually held biannually^{[11]}). - The Blackwell-Tapia prize and conference are named for Tapia and David Blackwell.

## Other interests[edit]

- Drag racing, world record holder, 1968,1969,1970.
^{[citation needed]}

## References[edit]

**^**"Award #0634516 — Empowering Leadership: Computing Scholars of Tomorrow". National Science Foundation. March 1, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-06. Tapia is the Principal investigator on a $2 million NSF grant (2007-2010) addressing networking for a "minority student or faculty at a majority institution".**^**"Tapia promoted to University Professor: Hispanic pioneer earns university's top academic title" (Press release). Rice University. October 14, 2005.**^**"Twelve Researchers Take Home Top Medals". Science Insider. September 28, 2011. Archived from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011.**^**"Richard A. Tapia — Brief Bio". Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University.**^**Megginson, Robert E. (December 8, 2002). "Arlie Petters Is First Recipient of Blackwell-Tapia Prize".*SIAM News*. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Retrieved November 15, 2008.**^**"Richard Tapia".*Mathematics Genealogy Project*. Retrieved November 15, 2008.**^**"22nd Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards to Honor Latino Leaders During Star-Studded Ceremony on Capitol Hill" (PDF). Hispanic Heritage Awards. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 December 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2011.**^**"Societies: The SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service".*The MacTutor History of Mathematics*. University of St. Andrews.**^**"Mathematicians: Richard Alfred Tapia".*The MacTutor History of Mathematics*. University of St. Andrews.**^**see the "archived copy" of the Richard Tapia conference web page**^**the current (or most recent) Richard Tapia conference web page

- O'Connor, J. J.; E. F. Robertson (April 2002). "Richard Alfred Tapia".
*The MacTutor History of Mathematics*. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved November 15, 2008.

## External links[edit]

- "Tapia Video Biography", The Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University.
- Barron, Rachel (Fall 1999). "Hitting the Highway with Mathematician Dr. Richard Tapia".
*Sacnas News*.**3**(3).

- Smallwood, Scott (March 28, 2003). "A Race That's About More Than Speed: Richard Tapia, dragster mathematician, seeks to fuel minority scientists and engineers".
*The Chronicle of Higher Education*.**49**(29). Archived from the original on December 2, 2005. - "Tapia promoted to University Professor", Rice University News Release.
- Richard A. Tapia at the Mathematics Genealogy Project

- 1939 births
- Living people
- American academics of Mexican descent
- 20th-century American mathematicians
- 21st-century American mathematicians
- Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
- Members of the United States National Academy of Engineering
- National Medal of Science laureates
- Rice University faculty
- University of California, Los Angeles alumni