Joan and Joseph Birman Research Prize 2023


The 2023 Joan & Joseph Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry was awarded to Kristen Hendricks, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston, MA in January 2023.  Hendricks is being honored for highly influential work on equivariant aspects of Floer homology theories.

Professor Kristen Hendricks’ work in low-dimensional and symplectic topology has revolutionized the understanding of equivariant aspects of Floer theories, allowing powerful equivariant techniques to be used to solve classical, non-equivariant problems. Hendricks’ pioneering work on involutive Heegaard Floer homology has had wide-ranging applications, particularly to questions that straddle the border between 3- and 4-dimensional topology. The impact of her contributions to the understanding of homology cobordism groups, and to the closely related subject of knot concordance, has been profound. Hendricks’ work has also opened new doors in the realm of symplectic topology, where her work with collaborators introduced one of the first general constructions of equivariant Floer homology.

Kristen Hendricks received her PhD in 2013 from Columbia University. She was a Hedrick Assistant Adjunct Professor at UCLA from 2013 to 2016, and an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University from 2016 to 2019 before joining the faculty at Rutgers University, where she is currently an associate professor. Hendricks is the recipient of both an NSF CAREER award and a Sloan Research Fellowship.


I am very honored to be selected for the Birman Prize. Joan Birman was a great inspiration to me while I was fortunate enough to interact with her as a graduate student at Columbia, and my appreciation and respect for her achievements has only increased as my perspective has matured. I’m also delighted to have my name on the same list as the previous prize winners, all of whom I hold in great esteem.

I am greatly indebted to many excellent mentors, most especially my first undergraduate professor Tom Coates, my primary graduate adviser Robert Lipshitz, and my postdoctoral supervisor Ciprian Manolescu. I am also grateful to both my former colleagues at Michigan State and my current colleagues at Rutgers for their unfailing supportiveness. I appreciate deeply the tremendous number of intellectually stimulating relationships I’ve been fortunate enough to have with my many excellent collaborators and other mathematical friends, far too many to name here; the topology and geometry community has been extremely good to me, and I hope to live up to its high standards of mathematical generosity and collegiality. The past years have been very exciting in our corner of mathematics and I’m enthusiastic to find out what comes next with all of you.