AWM Joan & Joseph Birman Research Prizes

In Topology and Geometry

The Executive Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics established the AWM Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry in 2013.  First presented in 2015, this prize is awarded every other year. The AWM Joan & Joseph Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry serves to highlight to the community outstanding contributions by women in the field and to advance the careers of the prize recipients.

The award is made possible by a generous contribution from Joan Birman, whose work has been in low dimensional topology, and her husband, Joseph, who was a theoretical physicist specializing in applications of group theory to solid state physics.

Kristen Hendricks

2023 Birman Prize Recipient

Nomination Period:  April 1 through May 15 of an even numbered year. The prize will be awarded the January after nominations close, which falls in an odd year.

Nomination Location: All nominations can be made at To locate the nomination form in MathPrograms, click on  “View Programs” at the top right of the page. Scroll down to the programs listed for “Association for Women in Mathematics” and click “Nominate” next to the Birman Prize.

Nominator: Any person can be a nominator! People of any gender can be a nominator, self-nominations are allowed, and you do not need to be an AWM member to nominate someone for this award. If this is a self-nomination, then you must have one additional letter of support.

Nomination Packet: A nomination packet should include:

  • A one to three-page letter of nomination highlighting the exceptional contributions of the candidate; and
  • One letter supporting the nomination.

All submitted materials become the property of the AWM.

Award Criteria: This prize will be awarded every other year. The purpose of the award is to highlight exceptional research in topology/geometry by a woman early in her career. The field will be broadly interpreted to include topology, geometry, geometric group theory and related areas.

Nominee Requirements. Candidates should be women, based at US institutions who are within 10 years of receiving their Ph.D. or having not yet received tenure, at the nomination deadline. Nominations of women from underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged. 

Presentation of Award. The AWM Joan & Joseph Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry will be presented in odd years at the Joint Prize Session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

2023 Kristen Hendricks, Rutgers University

2021 Emily Riehl, Johns Hopkins University

2019  Kathryn Mann, Brown University

2017  Emmy Murphy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2015  Eli Grigsby, Boston College

Questions? Call 401-455-4042 or email