On October 21, President Barack Obama awards the National Medal of Science to University Professor RIchard Tapia in a White House ceremony. Obama praises Tapia for his research on numerical analysis, for improving science and math education and for supporting underrepresented groups who pursue studies in those fields. "Math provided me a path out of poverty, " Tapia tells the Houston Chronicle. During his career Tapia holds the Noah-Harding Chair of Computation and Applied Mathematics and the Maxfield-Oshman chair in Engineering and is director of Rice's Center for Excellence and Equity in Education. He joined the faculty in 1970.