Tapia has received numerous professional and community service honors and awards including the annual Blackwell-Tapia Conference being named in his honor (his reason for visiting Columbus) and being inducted into the Texas Science Hall of Fame (yes, such a thing really does exist!).
Here are the details of his talk from the event flier (PDF):
Math at Top Speed: Exploring and Breaking Myths in the Drag Racing FolkloreNovember 4, 2010; 7:00pm @ COSI (doors open @ 6:00pm) Admission is free
Speaker: Richard Tapia
University Professor Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering, Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics (CAAM), Rice University
More about Dr. Tapia can be found here, here, and here. More on the Blackwell-Tapia Conference can be found by clicking the "Blackwell-Tapia" link on this website.