SEATTLE–Simon Singh, a science writer and broadcaster, and the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) in New York City, received the 2016 Communications Awards of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM). Singh received the 2016 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books, while MoMath received it for Public Outreach.
The JPBM represents the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
Although Singh is not a mathematician himself—his doctorate is in particle physics—he has a deep love for and fascination with mathematics that shines through in his many books and productions. One of his first was the fascinating documentary The Proof. Broadcast in the PBS Nova series, it brought to vivid life the dramatic story of Andrew Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Singh’s acclaimed 1997 book on the same subject, entitled Fermat’s Enigma in North America and Fermat’s Last Theorem in the UK, was a number-one bestseller in Britain and has been translated into over 25 languages. His other books include The Code Book (1999), a history of codes and codebreaking, and The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets (2013), about the numerous references to mathematics hidden in the world’s most successful TV show.
His radio and TV programs in the United Kingdom include The Science of Secrecy (a five-part history of cryptography), Five Numbers, Another Five Numbers, and A Further Five Numbers. He has participated in numerous stage productions that involved mathematics. His school-based projects include the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme, which currently runs in over 100 STEM departments in the UK, sending 1,000 undergraduates into schools each year in order to support pupils.
The National Museum of Mathematics MoMath was launched in 2009. At the time, there was no museum of mathematics in the United States, and yet there was incredible demand for hands-on math programming. MoMath enhances public understanding and perception of mathematics through dynamic exhibits and programs that stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics.