Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Ralph Cohen


Ralph Cohen

Senior Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences and the Barbara Kimball Browning Professor of Mathematics

Ralph Cohen, the Barbara Kimball Browning Professor of mathematics, is the senior associate dean for the natural sciences. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his doctorate in mathematics from Brandeis University.

Cohen came to Stanford in 1980 as an assistant professor of mathematics. He served as chair of the Department of Mathematics from 1992 to 1995 and received the 2002 Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2010, Cohen was named the Gregory Amadon Fellow in Undergraduate Education.

Cohen’s research in mathematics lies in the area of differential and algebraic topology. His work focuses on topological questions that are inspired by areas of theoretical physics, such as quantum field theory and string theory.

He has written four books and lecture notes, and published more than 60 research articles. Cohen has also been principal advisor to more than 25 doctoral students and has mentored 12 postdoctoral researchers.

    Professional Experience and Honors:
  • Member, American Mathematics Society oversight council, 2009–present
  • Banff International Research Center Scientific Advisory Board, 2008–present
  • Bass University Fellowship in Undergraduate Teaching, 2005–10
  • Director, Mathematics Research Center at Stanford, 1999–2009
  • Member, State Mathematics Framework Commission, and consultant to California State Board of Education on K–12 mathematics standards, 1997–2001
  • Cofounder, Stanford University Math Camp (SUMaC), a summer camp for mathematically gifted high school students, 1995
  • NSF international research award, 1988–89
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation (NSF), 1984–87
  • A.P. Sloan Fellow in Mathematics, 1982-84
  • Member, American Mathematics Society oversight Council, 2009-present
  • Held visiting professorships at Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Paris 7 and 13, University of Lille, and University of Copenhagen
  • Currently editor of three research journals and two book series