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CCNY Professor Finalist for Prestigious Blavatnik Award

September 14, 2011

Dr. Robert Anderson (CCNY) has been named a finalist for the prestigious Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists. Dr. Anderson, a biogeographer and ecologist, is being honored for his work on the development of a new modeling program. This program incorporates a mathematical principle called maximum entropy to analyze available ecological data and determine the species that may be viable in a given area.

With wide uses in ecology and environmental sciences, the program, named Maxent, has the potential to aid in species discovery, wildlife protection and conservation efforts, invasive-species monitoring, and in predicting the effects of climate change on plant and animal species. “Maxent is now pervasive in the field,” says Dr. Anderson about the paper’s more than 1,000 citations. Maxent was developed in collaboration with computer scientists Dr. Steven Phillips at AT&T-Research and Dr. Robert Schapire at Princeton University.

The New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Award recognizes outstanding interdisciplinary accomplishments from tri-state faculty in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Dr. Anderson was selected as one of only seven faculty finalists, and he is the first CUNY faculty member to be selected as a finalist. Winners of the Blavatnik Award will be announced at the Academy’s 8th annual Science and the City Gala on November 14, 2011.

2011 Blavatnik Award Faculty Finalists:
Robert Anderson, Ecology, CCNY
Johannes Gehrke, Computer Science, Cornell
Charalampos Kalodimos, Chemistry, Rutgers
Jun Korenaga, Earth Science, Yale
Szabolcs Marka, Astronomy, Astrophysics & Cosmology, Columbia
Olga Troyanskaya, Computational Biology, Princeton
Gerard Wysocki, Electrical Engineering, Princeton