The Wolfgang Haken Prize in Geometry and Topology is awarded annually to a mathematics PhD student for outstanding research in geometry and topology, broadly construed. Eligible areas of research include any topics where geometry or topology plays a significant role. Eligibility is open to all current mathematics PhD students.

The prize is named after Professor Emeritus Wolfgang Haken, who was a Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois Department of Mathematics in 1962-1963. From 1963-1965 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and in 1965 he became a Professor here at Illinois where he remained until his retirement in 1998. He was a member of the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study from 1993 to 1998. Professor Haken is a renowned topologist, particularly famous for his contributions to the 3-manifold topology and for the proof in 1976, together with Ken Appel, of the "Four Color Map" theorem.

The Wolfgang Haken Prize in Geometry and Topology was established in 2014 in recognition of Professor Haken's seminal mathematical contributions. The prize is funded through individual donations.


  • 2023   Venkata Sai Bavisetty  
  • 2021   Elizabeth Tatum
  • 2020   Elizabeth Field
  • 2019   Xinghua Gao
  • 2018   Melinda Lanius
  • 2017   Matthew Romney
  • 2016   Grace Work
  • 2015   Caglar Uyanik