Richard A. Tapia

Richard A. Tapia
Born (1939-03-25) March 25, 1939
Los Angeles
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Rice University
Alma mater UCLA
Doctoral advisor Magnus Hestenes, Charles Tompkins
Known for mathematical optimization,
Notable awards Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, National Medal of Science

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 ninety-nine-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.


University positions

Honors and awards (selected)

Other interests


  1. "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".
  2. "Tapia promoted to University Professor: Hispanic pioneer earns university's top academic title" (Press release). Rice University. October 14, 2005.
  3. "Twelve Researchers Take Home Top Medals". Science Insider. September 28, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  4. "Richard A. Tapia Brief Bio". Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University.
  5. 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.
  6. "Richard Tapia". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  7. "22nd Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards to Honor Latino Leaders During Star-Studded Ceremony on Capitol Hill" (PDF). Hispanic Heritage Awards. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  8. "Societies: The SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service". The MacTutor History of Mathematics. University of St. Andrews.
  9. "Mathematicians: Richard Alfred Tapia". The MacTutor History of Mathematics. University of St. Andrews.
  10. see the "archived copy" of the Richard Tapia conference web page
  11. 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. 
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