Past Features

May 4, 2009 (Vol. 9, No. 8)

Math Professor Wins Competitive Feliks Gross Award

Jason Behrstock and daughter Kaia
Mathematics Professor Jason Behrstock in 2005, with one year-old daughter Kaia.
Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Jason Behrstock, along with College of Staten Island History Professor Sandra Gambetti, will be honored on May 5 at the CUNY Graduate Center with the prestigious Feliks Gross Endowment Award. The annual award, which includes a plaque and honorarium, recognizes outstanding research, or potential for such, in the humanities or sciences within CUNY.

Prof. Behrstock's primary interests are in geometric group theory and low dimensional topology, where he studies objects such as braids, surfaces, and three dimension spaces. Prior to joining the Lehman faculty, he taught mathematics at Columbia University and at the University of Utah. He has received several grants from the National Science Foundation, as well as the Dorothy Pieper Merit Award for Outstanding Entering Doctoral Studies. His research has been published in a number of journals, including Annals of Mathematics, Geometry and Topology, and Duke Mathematical Journal. A frequent conference and colloquia lecturer, he will give a talk at the Topology and Computers Conference in Tokyo later this summer.

Feliks Gross, for whom the award is named, was a noted scholar and social activist who transformed American scholarship in the years following World War II. Born in Poland, he received his doctorate from Jagiellonian University of Cracow, where he was also an assistant professor in sociology. During the war, he fled to the United States, where he held a number of positions within academia, including a professorship at Brookyn College. He wrote more than twenty books and scores of articles. CUNY established this award in his memory.