**MSRI's and Cornell University's**

Blackwell-Tapia Prize

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
in Berkeley and Cornell University has established the Blackwell-Tapia
Prize in honor of **David
Blackwell** and Richard A. Tapia, distinguished mathematical
scientists who have been inspirations to more than a generation
of African American and Hispanic American students and professionals
in the mathematical sciences. The award will be presented in even
numbered years. The prize will be presented every other year to
a mathematical scientist who has contributed significantly to
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 the
addressing of the problem of the under-representation of minorities
in mathematics.

**At the second Blackwell-Tapia Conference, November
1 and 2, 2002**, **the first recipient
of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize will presented to** Dr. **Arlie O. Petters **(**here is his acceptance**).
Dr. Petters is the William and Sue Gross Associate Professor in
the Department of Mathematics at Duke University, where he works
on problems in mathematical physics. His current research interests
include the development of a rigorous mathematical theory of light
deflection in gravitational fields and the investigation of the
observational consequences of the theorems in such a theory. He
has published a book and nearly thirty articles. His many awards
and honors include Duke's Bass Chair in Recognition of Excellence
in Research and Teaching, a National Science Foundation Faculty
Early Career Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and
induction into the Hall of Fame of Hunter College of the City
University of New York.

Dr. Petters emigrated from Belize to the United States in 1979 and became a U.S. citizen in 1990. After receiving his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics and physics from Hunter College at C.U.N.Y, he won a Bell Laboratories Cooperative Research Fellowship to continue his graduate studies. He did his doctoral work in mathematics at MIT and Princeton, receiving his Ph.D. from MIT in 1991 under the direction of Bertram Kostant (MIT) and David Spergel (Princeton). His thesis title was Singularities in Gravitational Microlensing. After five years on the mathematics faculty of Princeton, he accepted the William and Sue Gross Chair at Duke, and became Duke's first tenured African American in mathematics.

A popular and effective advisor and mentor of undergraduates, Dr. Petters was presented the 1996 Service Award of the Princetonians of Color Network. He is a frequent guest speaker at events for minority students at all levels from elementary through graduate school. The excitement with which he describes his work is infectious. As a co-organizer for the Seventh Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences, held at Duke in 2001, he has helped bring together minority professionals with graduatestudents to help foster mentoring relationships and provide the students with evidence that others from backgrounds like their own are succeeding in mathematics-based fields.

The award will be presented at a conference to be held at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute on November 1-2, 2002.

For details, go to **http://zeta.msri.org/calendar/workshops/WorkshopInfo/244/show_workshop**

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