Ruth I. Michler Prize 2022-2023

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and Cornell University are pleased to announce that Emily E. Witt, University of Kansas, has been awarded the 2022-2023 Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize.

Citation: Emily E. Witt has been selected to receive the Michler Prize for her research accomplishments in commutative algebra. Her results on local cohomology modules based on applications of invariant theory have been groundbreaking, striking, and unexpected. Her techniques are innovative and broadly applicable. Witt will use the award to pursue a research project at the intersection of commutative algebra, algebraic geometry, and singularity theory. The project’s title, Invariants of Singular Plane Curves, is a tribute to the paper with the same title published by Ruth I. Michler posthumously.

Cornell’s Mathematics Department has a large and active research group in algebra, geometry, and combinatorics, and in particular, Professor Witt will interact with experts in commutative algebra such as Irena Peeva and Mike Stillman.

Witt was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2011.  Subsequently, she was a Dunham Jackson Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, and a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Utah. Since 2015, she has been a faculty member at the University of Kansas, where she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020.  She currently holds the institution’s Keeler Intra-University Professorship, under which she is collaborating with computer science faculty on the use of proof assistant software to develop formal proofs. 

Professor Witt’s achievements have been recognized by awards from her current institution, the National Science Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and the National Security Agency. In particular, she currently holds an NSF CAREER Award.

In addition to her research achievements, Witt is involved in a number of initiatives promoting diversity in the mathematical community.  For example, she co-organized the first Women in Commutative Algebra research collaboration workshop, and co-directed, with Daniel Hernández, an REU program in algebra and cryptography serving students from underrepresented groups. One of Witt’s goals while visiting Cornell’s Mathematics Department is to learn more about their successful programs that address diversity and inclusion in STEM.

Response from Witt: It is an honor to receive the Michler Memorial Prize; Ruth Michler’s work in the field of algebra makes the award especially meaningful to me. I am grateful to the AWM and the Michler family for the opportunity to interact with Cornell’s fantastic researchers in algebra and geometry, and related fields.