Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize 2007-2008

The Association for Women in Mathematics and Cornell University are pleased to announce that Rebecca Goldin, George Mason University, will receive the first annual Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize. The Michler Prize is unique—it grants a mid-career woman in academe a residential fellowship in the Cornell University mathematics department without teaching obligations. This pioneering venture was established through a very generous donation from the Michler family and the efforts of many people at AWM and Cornell. The high quality of proposals submitted this first year attests to the need for such opportunities.

Rebecca Goldin was selected to receive the Michler Prize because of her past achievements and future promise. After earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with honors from Harvard University, Goldin spent a year in France at the Ecole Normale Superieure collaborating with Bernard Teissier on toric varieties. She then returned to Cambridge to pursue her doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she investigated the cohomology ring of weight varieties under the direction of Victor Guillemin. A two and a half year NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Maryland was followed by a tenure track appointment to the mathematics department at George Mason University. In 2004, Goldin assumed the role of Director of Research for Statistical Assessment Services, a nonprofit organization affiliated with George Mason University in addition to her responsibilities as a professor in mathematics. In 2006, she was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor.

Goldin’s research investigates sympletic geometry—a field that arose from the study of geometric structures underlying classical and quantum physics, but has become of great importance in modern differential geometry. She is a leader in work centered on Hamiltonian group actions and the study of topology and geometry of symplectic quotients. Her work has been called “influential,” “elegant,” “precise,” and has been funded by two separate NSF research grants.

At Cornell, Goldin plans to collaborate with Tara Holm, Reyer Sjamaar, and Ed Swartz on questions involving equivariant cohomology, generalized Schubert Calculus, orbifold cohomology, K-theory, and even the relationship between the geometry of hypertoric varieties and oriented matroids. The Cornell mathematics department is planning a dedication in the fall of 2007 when Goldin will be in residence. Ruth Michler’s parents hope to attend.