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Ivo and Renata Babuška Thesis Prize

Ivo Babuška and Renata Babuška
Ivo Babuška and Renata Babuška
Photo Courtesy of the Babuška Family
The Ivo and Renata Babuška Thesis Prize is awarded annually to the author of an outstanding PhD thesis in mathematics, interdisciplinary in nature, possibly with applications to other fields. The current prize amount is US$3,000.

About this Prize

Ivo Babuška (1926-2023) was a Czech-American mathematician whose honors include five doctorates honoris causa, the Czechoslovak State prize for Mathematics, the Leroy P. Steele Prize, the Birkhoff Prize, the Humboldt Award of Federal Republic of Germany, the John von Neumann Medal, the Neuron Prize Czech Republic, the ICAM Congress Medal (Newton Gauss), the Bolzano Medal, and the Honorary Medal De Scientia Et Humanitate Optime Meritis. Asteroid 36060 Babuška was named in his honor by the International Astronomical Union.

Renata Babuška (nee Mikulášek) was Ivo's wife and partner for 63 years. Renata grew up in Prague, Czechoslovakia and graduated from Charles University in 1953 with a degree in Mathematical Statistical Engineering. Upon graduation, she was assigned to the Education Department as an administrator evaluating universities and technical schools. Two years later she became an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Czech Technical University. After moving to the US, Renata worked as a data and computing management consultant for different government agencies in Washington, D.C. She liked to point out that behind every successful man is a strong woman and he often said that without Renata, he would not have accomplished all that he did.

Babuška was a Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and then the Robert B. Trull Chair in Engineering, TICAM Senior Research Scientist, Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a Fellow of SIAM, ACM, and ICAM, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Sciences of Texas, the European Academy of Sciences, and an honorary Foreign Member of the Czech Learned Society.

Babuška's work spanned the fields of theoretical and applied mathematics with emphasis on numerical methods, finite element methods, and computational mechanics. His interest in fostering collaboration among mathematicians, engineers, and physicists led him to establish this prize to encourage and recognize interdisciplinary work with practical applications.

The Ivo and Renata Babuška Thesis Prize is awarded in line with other AMS Prizes and Awards, according to governance rules and practice in effect at that time.

Most Recent Prize: 2024

The inaugural Ivo and Renata Babuška Thesis Prize is awarded to Abigail Hickok in recognition of the outstanding contributions in her PhD thesis, "Topics in Geometric and Topological Data Analysis.""

Prize announcement as seen in the news release.

See previous winners

Next Prize:  January 2025

Nomination Period:  February 1-June 30, 2024

Nomination Procedure: 

1. The prize will recognize a thesis for a Ph.D. granted between July 1 of year -1 and June 30 of year 0 (the year of nomination and selection) and will be presented at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January of year +1 wherever it appears.
2. The nominating institution will be a Ph.D.-granting institution that is either a. located in the United States of America (USA), or b. located outside the USA and an institutional AMS member at the time of the nomination.
3. One Ph.D. thesis may be nominated by a nominating institution.
4. The nominating institution will submit a copy of the thesis along with a letter in support of the nomination, and both will be written in English.
5. A selection committee will be appointed by the AMS President.

Submit a nomination