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The 2016 Blackwell-Tapia Conference and Award Ceremony

conference photo.
D. Blackwell photo. R. Tapia photo.
David H. Blackwell
Richard Tapia

Date: October 28-29, 2016
The conference will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 28 and conclude with a banquet in the evening on Saturday, October 29.

Location: University of Tennessee Conference Center – Knoxville, TN

Conference Schedule and Abstracts: (PDF)

Overview: The NSF Mathematical Sciences Institutes Diversity Committee hosted the 2016 Blackwell-Tapia Conference and Awards Ceremony. The lead institute was NIMBioS and the co-organizing institute was the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI). This is the ninth conference since 2000, held every other year, with the location rotating among NSF Mathematics Institutes. The conference and prize honors David Blackwell, the first African-American member of the National Academy of Science, and Richard Tapia, winner of the National Medal of Science in 2010, two seminal figures who inspired a generation of African-American, Native American and Latino/Latina students to pursue careers in mathematics. The Blackwell-Tapia Prize recognizes a mathematician who has contributed significantly to research in his or her area 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 underrepresentation of minorities in math.

The 2016 recipient of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize is Mariel Vazquez, Professor of Mathematics and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Davis. Read more.

The conference included scientific talks, poster presentations, panel discussions, ample opportunities for discussion and interaction, and the awarding of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize. Participants came from all career stages and will represent institutions of all sizes across the country, including Puerto Rico.

Goals of the conference are to:

  • Recognize and showcase mathematical excellence by minority researchers
  • Recognize and disseminate successful efforts to address under-representation
  • Inform students and mathematicians about career opportunities in mathematics, especially outside academia
  • Provide networking opportunities for mathematical researchers at all points in the higher education/career trajectory

Descriptive Flyer (pdf)

Undergraduate Event, 5:30–7 p.m. Oct. 27, at NIMBioS:
Topic: Mathematics: It’s Knot What You Think! A Virtual Math Meet-Up for Undergraduates
Viewers joined two inspiring mathematicians – Mariel Vazquez, 2016 Blackwell-Tapia Award Winning Mathematician from the University of California-Davis, and Jose Perea of Michigan State University, to learn about the fascinating field of topology, the mathematical study of properties preserved through deformations, twistings, and stretchings of objects. Experts in their field, Vazquez and Perea discussed their career paths and the exciting applications of their work in pure mathematics, medicine, computers, engineering and more! This free event was streamed live, accompanied by a live chat on Twitter using #nimbios. Those local to UT were invited to join us at NIMBioS in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206. Free pizza was served at 5 p.m. Descriptive Flyer (pdf)

Organizing Committee


with remarks by honored guest Richard Tapia, Rice Univ.

Presentation Videos

Oct. 28 Talks:

  • Session 1: Yakubu, Ardila Video icon.
  • Session 2: Villalobos, Goins, Jonsson Video icon.

Oct. 29 Talks:

  • Session 1: Perea, Jenda, Jackson Video icon.
  • Session 2: Morgan, Sumners, Vazquez Video icon.

The hosting NSF Mathematics Institutes Diversity Committee members are, as follows: American Institute of Mathematics (AIM), Fields Institute, Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM), Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM), Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI), Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), NIMBioS and SAMSI.

Blog Posts:

Sloan logo. The 2016 Blackwell-Tapia Conference and Awards Ceremony is supported in part by the
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Fields logo. Additional support for Canadian participation in the conference is provided by the Fields Institute.

For more information, contact:
Kelly Sturner
Education and Outreach Coordinator, NIMBioS
Phone: (865) 974-9364    Fax: (865) 974-9300

Suzanne Lenhart
Associate Director for Education and Outreach, NIMBioS
Phone: (865) 974-4270    Fax: (865) 974-9300