LAURELS: Do the Math (and Become a Fellow)

Giant wave, curling over.
Water waves are a subject for mathematical analysis by Professor Steve Shkoller, newly named fellow of the American Mathematical Society. (Getty Images)

Quick Summary

  • American Mathematical Society honors Professors Steve Shkoller and Mariel Vazquez
  • Computer science faculty Kenneth Joy and Kwan-Liu Ma inducted into the IEEE Visualization Academy
  • Bruce Hammock’s EicOsis LLC receives Sacramento Region Innovation Award
  • Cindy Rubio-González receives Facebook award for research in software testing and verification
  • American Musicological Society honors Anna Maria Busse Berger and Carol Hess
  • Music professor Kurt Rohde is the new artistic director of the Composers Conference
  • Lecturer Rita Sahai, director of the Hindustani Vocal Ensemble, wins gold medals in Global Music Awards

Professors Steve Shkoller and Mariel Vazquez have been named fellows of the American Mathematical Society, among 52 mathematical scientists in the 2020 class of fellows, selected for outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and use of mathematics.

Steve Shkoller mugshot

The society honored Shkoller for contributions to nonlinear partial differential equations, fluid dynamics and free-boundary problems. “Of particular interest is the motion of fluid interfaces and the finite-time singularity formation of these interfaces, such as breaking ocean waves,” he told Dateline UC Davis.

Besides his appointment in the Department of Mathematics, Shkoller is an affiliate of the UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute. In 2017, he ran an international summer school at UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory, on the topic of mathematical analysis of water waves, and more such schools are planned.

“My recent work is also on the problem of shock waves and the first proof detailing how they form (mathematically) in fluids in three space dimensions (the physical world we live in),” he said.

Mariel Vazquez mugshot

Vazquez, who has appointments in the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, was honored for contributions in research and outreach at the interface of topology and molecular biology, and for service to the mathematical community, in particular to underrepresented groups. Vazquez’s research uses mathematical topology to explore fundamental questions about DNA structure and function.

She is the faculty director of the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science, or CAMPOS.

Professor Emeritus Kenneth Joy and Professor Kwan-Liu Ma of the Department of Computer Science are new inductees into the IEEE Visualization Academy, joining 30 others in the academy’s second annual induction ceremony. The IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee, part of the IEEE Computer Society, established the academy as the highest and most prestigious honor in the field of visualization.

Good news from the American Musicological Society’s annual meeting:

Anna Maria Busse Berger mugshot
Busse Berger

●︎ Anna Maria Busse Berger, distinguished professor, elected an honorary member, a status accorded long-standing members of the society who have made outstanding contributions to furthering its stated object and whom the society wishes to honor. The society recognized Busse Berger for creating “an innovative and original body of scholarship reflecting a lifelong commitment to understanding the role of memory in the transmission, performance and composition of music in Europe before the early modern era and in early 20th-century Africa.”

Carol hess mugshot

●︎ Carol Hess, professor, recipient of the AMS Teaching Award, which honors “an exceptional pedagogical resource for musicology” — in this case, her 2018 book, Experiencing Latin American Music. Hess’ citation states, in part: “Her narrative weaves together musics past and present with numerous cultures. Rather than chronology or geography, Experiencing Latin American Music is organized topically around experiences of film, musical elements, religion, identities, the body, politics, classical music and globalization. ... As Hess argues, her text will ‘urge you to pursue history in [a different] way.’”

●︎ Ana R. Alonso-Minutti, M.A. ’04, Ph.D. ’08, recipient of the Ruth A. Solie Award for co-editing Experimentalisms in Practice: Music Perspectives from Latin America. Alonso-Minutti is an associate professor of music at the University of New Mexico.

●︎ Serena Yang, doctoral candidate, first UC Davis student to receive a Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship, given to graduate students who belong to historically underrepresented groups.

More music honors:

●︎ Professor Kurt Rohde, appointed the artistic director of the Composers Conference, founded in 1945 and which describes itself as a pioneer in the performance of new works by emerging composers. He succeeds the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mario Davidovsky, who led the conference for more than 50 years, up until his death in August at age 85. Rohde served as a guest composer at last summer’s conference.

●︎ Rita Sahai, music lecturer and director of the Hindustani Vocal Ensemble, recipient of two gold medals in the Global Music Awards, honored in the categories of world music and female vocalist for her song “Incessant Time: Samaya Nirantar” from her album Samaya Anubhuti: The Experience of Time. She won a bronze medal in the world music category of the same awards program in 2016 for “Inner Thirst” from her album Jalaranjani: The Moods of Water.

EicOsis LLC, a company founded by Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Comprehensive Cancer Center, won a Sacramento Region Innovation Award for 2019, in the medical health/biopharmaceutical category. Based on research from Hammock’s lab at UC Davis, EicOsis aims to develop a nonopiate pain relief drug for use in humans and animals.

Stoel Rives LLP, Moss Adams LLP and the Sacramento Business Journal started the awards program four years ago “to celebrate and promote pioneering innovations and the local talent behind new products, services and processes in the marketplace.”

In 2017, UC Davis earned the program’s Innovator of the Year award (then referred to as the Innovation of the Year award), in recognition of the university’s role as champion of regional innovation and entrepreneurship.

Cindy Rubio-González, assistant professor of computer science, is the recipient of a Facebook award for research in software testing and verification. In her winning proposal, she outlines how she will test automated bug- finding tools on real software, to evaluate their effectiveness and to develop new algorithms for bug finding.

Facebook received more than 100 proposals and selected 10. The social media company invited the Testing and Verification Award winners to give talks today (Nov. 19) at a workshop in London.

The Emeriti Association announced its award of a single Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship for 2019-20, to artist Gyöngy Laky in support of her book project, Preparing for the Unexpected: The Life and Art of Gyöngy Laky.

She taught at UC Davis for 28 years, chairing the Department of Art in the mid-1990s, and leading efforts in gender equity and diversity in faculty hiring post-Proposition 209 for the UC system.

Dickson was a UC regent — he holds the record for board service, 1913-46 — who provided the endowment fund that today supports the emeriti professorships on all UC campuses.

Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards, for publication in Laurels. Send information to

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff, 530-752-6556,

Primary Category