Each year the Courant Institute awards several student prizes to recognize exceptional promise and accomplishment at various levels. The prizes, which are underwritten by donations from friends of the Institute, are listed below together with the latest recipients.
For a list of previous award recipients, see the archive.
This award honors the memory of Henning Biermann, a brilliant and much-loved Ph.D. student whose dedication to teaching, mentoring, and service enriched academic and extracurricular life for everyone in the department. The award is made to a Ph.D. student who exemplifies this spirit through outstanding contributions to education or service to the department.
The Sandra Bleistein Prize was established by Dr. Norman Bleistein in memory of his late wife, Sandra, who had been a graduate student at the Courant Institute. Norman Bleistein himself received his Ph.D. at the Courant Institute in 1965, writing his thesis on asymptotic methods for the solution of initial boundary value problems for dispersive hyperbolic equations under Professor Robert Lewis. After spending time at MIT and Denver University, he went on to the Colorado School of Mines where, along with Frank Hagan and John Desanto, he formed the Center for Wave Phenomena which was devoted almost exclusively to geophysical problems. The prize is given annually for notable achievement by a woman in applied mathematics or computer science.
The Thomas Tyler Bringley Fellowship is awarded to Math Ph.D. students in areas of mathematics guiding applications to medicine and biology.
Hollis Cooley was a much loved and respected professor in the Department of Mathematics as well as being the advisor for the freshman honors program. Among his students were Joe Keller and Peter Lax. He was known as an individual who would talk to you about anything: his abiding interest in all things mathematical, in teaching, in his interest in the American Civil Liberties Union. The Hollis Cooley Prize is offered for excellence and promise in undergraduate mathematics in his honor.
Soon after earning her Ph.D. in the Computer Science Department, Janet Fabri died in an automobile accident on her way to work at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center. The award, initiated by Janet's colleagues at IBM, her family, and her advisor Robert Dewar, is given each year for the dissertation determined to be the department's most outstanding.
Kurt O. Friedrichs spent most of his professional life at New York University. He played a fundamental role at the Courant Institute, helping to create it and to maintain it though difficult periods. In the early days of the Institute, Friedrichs' own scientific achievements led the way for the international recognition we enjoy today, and many of his students have added to that renown. Friedrichs made fundamental contributions to the theory of partial differential equations, operators in Hilbert space, perturbation theory, and bifurcation theory. Pure and applied mathematicians, physicists, and engineers have all been profoundly influenced in their work by Friedrichs. He served as Associate Director (1952-1966) and Director (1966-1967) and continued to advise and counsel the leadership of the Institute long after his retirement in 1974. This prize is awarded for an outstanding dissertation in mathematics.
The Paul Garabedian Fellowship is awarded to post-graduate students who demonstrate excellence in science and mathematics.
Max Goldstein was the director of the DOE computer center at New York University, the co-founder of the Department of Computer Science, and the first director of the Academic Computing Facility. An important figure in developing computing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory after World War II, Max felt that computing had profound implications for many disciplines and at many levels. The Max Goldstein Prize is awarded annually for undergraduate creativity in computing.
Harold Grad was the founder of the Magneto-fluid Dynamics Division of the Courant Institute and served as its head until shortly before his death. Under Harold's leadership, the division specialized in mathematical problems related to thermonuclear fusion, and to this day, the Courant Institute is a leader in the research of fusion theory. Harold first achieved fame with his doctoral dissertation under Richard Courant, when he developed the 13-moment method which allowed simplified treatment of the dynamics of gasses. While expanding his research horizons from classical fluid to magnetized fluid, Harold continued to strive for and achieve excellence in both fields. This prize is awarded for outstanding performance and promise as a graduate student.
The Moses A. Greenfield Research Prize is awarded for outstanding interdisciplinary studies by a current student.
The Martin and Sarah Leibowitz Graduate Prize for Quantitative Biology is awarded for academic excellence within the field of Quantitative Biology.
Wilhelm T. Magnus was an exceptional mathematician, internationally renowned for his research in group theory and its application to geometry and topology as well as special functions of mathematical physics and their application to electromagnetic theory and diffraction problems. He was an outstanding teacher and inspiring mentor as well as being a distinguished research leader in combinatorial group theory. The Wilhelm T. Magnus Memorial Prize is awarded for significant contributions to the mathematical sciences.
Bella Manel was the first female student of Richard Courant in the U.S. as well as one of the very first female Ph.D. students in mathematics in the U.S. Dr. Manel wrote her dissertation on conformal mapping of multiply connected domains on the basis of Plateau's problem, and earned her Ph.D. degree in 1939. She has spent her entire career as an applied mathematician and computational scientist. Several years ago, her husband, Dr. Moses Greenfield, who is on the faculty of the Medical School of UCLA, established this award in her honor. It is given for excellence and promise in mathematics on the graduate level by a woman or a member of another under-represented group.
Matthew Smosna, a researcher, student, administrator and much-loved teacher in the Computer Science Department died suddenly in 1997. The Matthew Smosna Prize was instituted in his memory and is given each year to the master's student with the highest level of academic achievement.
The Master’s Innovation Prize is awarded for outstanding innovation by a Master’s student in the Computer Science department.
The Computer Science Master’s Thesis Prize is awarded for the best thesis of a Master’s student in the Computer Science department.
The Math Master's Thesis Prize is awarded for significant contributions to the mathematical sciences.