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Juan Meza Wins 2008 Blackwell-Tapia Prize and SACNAS Distinguished Scientist Award

July 11, 2008

Juan Meza

Juan Meza

Dr. Juan C. Meza, Department Head and Senior Scientist for the High Performance Computing Research Department in the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been named recipient of two awards: the Blackwell-Tapia Prize and the SACNAS Distinguished Scientist Award.

Blackwell-Tapia Prize

The Blackwell-Tapia Prize is awarded every second year in honor of the legacy of David H. Blackwell and Richard A. Tapia, two distinguished mathematical scientists who have been inspirations to more than a generation of African American, Latino/Latina, and Native American students and professionals in the mathematical sciences. It recognizes a mathematical scientist who has contributed and continues to contribute significantly to research in his or her field of expertise, and who has served as a role model for mathematical scientists and students from under-represented minority groups or contributed in other significant ways to addressing the problem of the under-representation of minorities in mathematics. The current award citation said:

Dr. Meza has an exceptionally distinguished record as a mathematical scientist, an accomplished and effective head of a large department doing cutting-edge explorations in the computational sciences, computational mathematics, and future technologies, and a role model and active advocate for others from groups under-represented in the mathematical sciences. As a mathematician, his current research focuses on nonlinear optimization with an emphasis on methods for parallel computing, and he has also worked on various scientific and engineering applications including scalable methods for nanoscience, power grid reliability, molecular conformation problems, optimal design of chemical vapor deposition furnaces, and semiconductor device modeling. He is a much sought after speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics ranging from his own research, through major invited talks on the importance of diversity such as his presentation as the 2008 Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium Speaker for the University of Michigan's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, and advice important to young mathematicians-in-the-making such as his presentations to student groups on how they can be effective speakers and presenters themselves. His record of service to communities under-represented in mathematics includes co-organizing the Tenth CAARMS Conference in Berkeley, chairing the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) Human Resources Advisory Committee, co-chairing the annual Diversity Day workshops of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and many other activities too numerous to mention here; however, they regularly extend from serving on high-level advisory committees on diversity for major scientific organizations, through rolling up his own sleeves and working directly with early-career mathematics students from under-represented groups, as he did in the 2007 MSRI Undergraduate Program (MSRI-UP).

The prize will be presented at the Fifth Blackwell-Tapia Conference, to be hosted by the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) in Research Triangle Park, NC on November 14–15, 2008.

SACNAS Distinguished Scientist Award

The mission of SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) is to encourage Chicano/Latino and Native American students to pursue graduate education and obtain the advanced degrees necessary for science research, leadership, and teaching careers at all levels. The SACNAS Distinguished Awards recognize scientific achievement, teaching, and mentorship of underrepresented minority students.

"The individuals to be recognized represent the highest caliber of mentoring and an established record of encouraging minority students to pursue advanced degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering," according to the award announcement, which continued, "[Dr. Meza] leads a group conducting cutting-edge research involving the marriage of new algorithmic techniques and advanced computing platforms. Dr. Meza has also worked on various scientific and engineering applications including scalable methods for nanoscience and power grid reliability. In addition, Dr. Meza is extremely active nationally in addressing the underrepresentation of minorities in mathematics."

The award will be presented by SACNAS president Aaron Velasco, Ph.D., during the opening ceremony of the organization’s annual national conference on Thursday, October 9, 2008, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.


About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

High performance computing plays a critical role in scientific discovery, and researchers increasingly rely on advances in computer science, mathematics, computational science, data science, and large-scale computing and networking to increase our understanding of ourselves, our planet, and our universe. Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area researches, develops, and deploys new foundations, tools, and technologies to meet these needs and to advance research across a broad range of scientific disciplines.

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.