Excellence in Mathematical Research Award

During his 45 years teaching at Duke, Dr. David Kraines has seen the impact research and enrichment opportunities, such as competitions and conferences, can have on a student’s educational and career trajectory. In addition, undergraduate students can greatly benefit from conducting research as it allows them to make original, intellectual, and creative contributions to their field, form meaningful relationships with professors, prepare for competitive graduate and professional schools, and develop marketable career skills.

In 2000, to encourage student research, Dr. Kraines created the PRUV summer research program as part of Duke’s VIGRE grant. Each year, up to 8 undergraduate math majors with a sincere desire, background and ability to carry out research in mathematical sciences have been selected to be PRUV Fellows. These students receive stipends for six weeks during the summer for intensive research on a project, mentored by a Duke professor, leading to Graduation with Distinction in Mathematics.

Although Emeritus since 2017, Dr. Kraines continues to advise the Duke University Math Union, coordinate the W.L. Putnam and other math competitions, and direct the PRUV program, selecting applicants and matching them with mentors. During the summer research period, Vivian and David Kraines continue to host the PRUV Fellows and others for dinners at their home.

In late 2017, David and Vivian Kraines contributed to an endowment for a cash prize to be presented annually to the undergraduate or undergraduates on the basis of excellence in research.  Contributions to this endowment were made by many Duke math alumni.

Prize winners and their research paper titles
  • Alex Damian: Theoretical Guarantees for Signal Recovery
  • Blythe Davis: The Spherical Manifold Realization Problem
  • Onkar Gujral: The Khovanov Functor and Cobordisms with Split Boundary
  • Irina Cristali: Poisson Percolation on the Square Lattice
  • Zhenhua Liu: Stationary One-Sided Area Minimizing Hypersurfaces with Isolated Singularities
  • Surabhi Beriwal: Statistical analysis of fruit fly wing vein topology
  • Trung Can: The Heisenberg-Weyl Group, Finite Symplectic Geometry, and their applications
  • Eric Peshkin: The quantification of markers of economic development from time-series satellite imagery using deep learning