Melanie Wood Is the First Women in Mathematics to Win a Waterman Award From the National Science Foundation

Melanie Wood, professor of mathematics at Harvard University, is the recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation, the organization’s most prestigious prize for scientists under the age of 40 in the United States.

Dr. Wood is the seventh Harvard scientist to receive a Waterman, which the government has awarded annually since 1975, and the first woman ever to receive it in mathematics.

Dr. Wood is best known for her work on number theory, one of the oldest branches of mathematics that considers the properties and relationships of numbers. Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the National Science Foundation, stated that Professor Wood “is tackling the mysteries and most complex problems in mathematics by looking into the connection of number theory and random matrices.”

A native of Indianapolis, Dr. Wood has also taught at Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of California, Berkeley. At Harvard, she also serves as Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study.

Professor Wood is a 2003 graduate of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where she majored in mathematics. She holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in New Jersey.

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