Math professor to receive 2011 Hazel Barnes Prize

By Staff


Harvey Segur, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been selected to receive the 2011 Hazel Barnes Prize, the highest faculty recognition for teaching and research awarded by the university.

Segur will receive an engraved university medal and a $20,000 cash award, the largest single faculty award funded by CU-Boulder. He will be recognized at a reception this fall and at the winter commencement ceremony on Dec 16.

The prize recognizes Segur's highly cited and influential research on nonlinear waves, along with his exceptional teaching record as a CU-Boulder faculty member since 1989.

"Professor Segur's transformational teaching and curriculum enhancements in service to our students embodies our Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan to redefine education for the 21st century," said Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. "It is because of faculty like Professor Segur that learning and teaching is one of our pillars of impact at CU-Boulder. But this honor also recognizes his influential scholarly work and service and that is why it is our highest faculty honor."

Segur is helping to transform undergraduate education at CU-Boulder, focusing on improved student performance in lower-division calculus. The subject is a gatekeeper for majors and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields, according to Segur.

To bolster student success in introductory calculus courses, Segur, instructor Mary Nelson and others in the applied mathematics department have implemented more reflective discourse in the classroom through oral assessments. They also expanded CU-Boulder's Calculus I curriculum to include a two-semester alternative to the usual one-semester course, with the alternative designed to help students with weak mathematical backgrounds. Several universities across the United States are now adopting these reforms.

Segur received a 1994 Teaching Excellence Award from the Boulder Faculty Assembly and was awarded the Minority Engineering Program's Faculty Award in 1995.

In 1998, Segur was named a President's Teaching Scholar by former CU President John Buechner. He also served as chair of the applied mathematics department from 2000 to 2003.

Segur was selected to give CU-Boulder's 97th Distinguished Research Lecture in 2005, the highest honor bestowed by the Graduate School on a faculty member, recognizing an entire body of research and creative work. His talk was on fluid dynamics, describing several types of ocean waves, including common, wind-driven waves and much rarer tsunami waves.

Segur has authored several books and numerous journal articles. He has been a principal lecturer at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. He also has been a guest lecturer in 15 countries including Germany, Russia, Japan, China and Denmark.

Segur has conducted research in various mathematical fields for the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, NATO, the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Army Research Office. He also has worked extensively in private industry.

Segur received his master's and doctoral degrees in aeronautical sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to CU-Boulder he was a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology, an associate professor at Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, N.J., and a professor at State University of New York, Buffalo.

The Hazel Barnes Prize was established in 1991 to recognize the enriching relationship between teaching and research. The prize was named in honor of CU-Boulder philosophy Professor Emerita Hazel Barnes, who taught at CU-Boulder from 1943 to 1986 and is noted for her interpretations of the works of French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. Barnes died in 2008 at the age of 92.