Press Release: Graduate Center Professor Receives Nation’s Highest Science Honor

The White House has announced that Dennis P. Sullivan, Albert Einstein Chair in the Sciences at The Graduate Center, has been named a winner of a 2004 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor. The medals will be presented by President Bush, on a date to be announced, to eight recipients for their contributions to the fields of physical, biological, mathematical, social, behavioral, and engineering sciences.  Sullivan is being honored for having developed new fields of mathematics and finding ways to connect seemingly unrelated disciplines.  

An internationally renowned theoretical mathematician, Sullivan specializes in topology, geometry, and dynamical systems.  He was named Albert Einstein Chair in Science in 1981, at the time in cooperation with Queens College. During the 1980s the resources of the chair allowed the founding of a regular seminar in geometry and chaos theory that brought first-rank international scholars to CUNY and New York City.  Subsequently, the seminar has been supported by The Graduate Center, pursuing the connections between topology and the mathematical models of nature provided by quantum field theory and fluid mechanics.  

Along with the title of Albert Einstein Chair, Sullivan is a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at The Graduate Center.  Prior to coming to CUNY he held positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University  of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University, and he had a long research association (1973-1996) with the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifique outside Paris.  Currently, he also serves on the mathematics faculty at SUNY Stony Brook. He received his B.A. from Rice University and a Ph.D. from Princeton.  

Sullivan's work has been acknowledged by some of his field's most prestigious prizes and distinctions, among them: the Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry from the American Mathematical Society (1971), the Elie Cartan Prix en Geometrie from the French Academy of Sciences (1981), the King Faisal International Prize in Science (1993), and a 1997 New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology.

In 1991, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the New York Academy of Sciences, and is a former Vice President of the American Mathematical Society.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York.  The only consortium of its kind in the nation, the school draws its faculty of more than 1,700 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges.  The school offers 32 doctoral programs and six master's degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The Graduate  Center also houses 28 research centers and institutes, administers the CUNY Baccalaureate Program as well as a number of other university-wide academic programs, and offers a wide range of continuing education and cultural programs of interest to the general public. Further information on The Graduate Center's programs and activities can be found on its website at:

Submitted on: NOV 1, 2005

Category: Mathematics | Press Room