Alumnus with exceptional mathematical promise wins Hertz Fellowship

A Yale alumnus working toward a Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT is among the 33 doctoral students awarded Hertz Fellowships.
Alexander Cohen

Alexander Cohen

Yale alumnus Alexander Cohen ’21, now a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is one of 33 doctoral students with exceptional skills in applied science, mathematics, and engineering who have been named 2022 Hertz Fellows.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation awards the prestigious fellowships to individuals who demonstrate “extraordinary potential to become foremost leaders in their fields and tackle the most significant challenges facing the nation and the world,” according to the award announcement.

Cohen, who is working toward a Ph.D. in mathematics, studies how waves interfere with each other, a topic of mathematics that has broad implications across computer science, physics, and number theory. He graduated from Yale with a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics.

At Yale, he was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship for his work and an honorable mention for the Morgan Prize, one of the highest undergraduate honors in mathematics.

Hertz Fellows receive five years of funding, valued up to $250,000, which offers them “flexibility from the traditional constraints of graduate training and the independence needed to pursue research that best advances U.S. security and economic vitality,” the foundation said. The fellowship supports researchers interested in defending the nation’s digital infrastructure against cyberthreats, developing more efficient electronics to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and create biomedical devices to aid rehabilitation and cancer diagnostics, among other projects.

Over the Hertz Foundation’s 59-year history of awarding fellowships, more than 1,200 fellows have made important accomplishments in their fields. Their ranks include two Nobel laureates; recipients of eight Breakthrough Prizes and three MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants; and winners of the Turing Award, the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Technology, and the National Medal of Science. Hertz Fellows hold over 3,000 patents, have founded more than 375 companies, and have created hundreds of thousands of science and technology jobs.

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