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Siobhan Roberts to Receive 2017 JPBM Communications Award

This award is for expository and popular books

American Mathematical Society

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IMAGE: Siobhan Roberts is the winner of the 2017 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books. view more

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Siobhan Roberts, a journalist and biographer based in Toronto, Canada, will receive the 2017 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books.

The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) represents the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Presented annually, the JPBM Communications Award recognizes outstanding achievement in communicating about mathematics to non-mathematicians.

Siobhan Roberts's first book was "King of Infinite Space---Donald Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry" (Walker and Company, 2006). The book received rave reviews as well as the Euler Book Prize of the Mathematical Association for America, the citation for which says: "[The book] gives a superbly readable account, in personal terms, of the search for beauty that sets mathematics in motion, and of the synergy of individual and group efforts that make it happen. It's an engaging page-turner... [that] honors the spirit of wonder and openness that Coxeter embodied in his approach to mathematics."

Roberts also wrote and produced a documentary film about Coxeter, "The Man Who Saved Geometry," for TVOntario's The View From Here. Today she writes for The New Yorker's "Elements," Nautilus, and Quanta. At various times she has contributed to The Guardian, Smithsonian, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, and The Walrus, among other publications. She is an occasional Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Her most recent book is "Genius at Play --- The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway" (Bloomsbury, 2015), written in part while she was a Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. This book too was received to wide acclaim; one example is the Nature review by Michael Harris (Columbia University), which says: "Roberts's 'kaleidoscope of inquiry' is a marvel for its virtuoso juggling of narrative speeds, reminiscences, implausible digressions and long passages of precise, comprehensible mathematics. She packs it all into a tidy chronology framed by the story of a road movie starring Conway... In search of the best ways to talk about numbers, groups, shapes, and games, Roberts has rediscovered the power of talking about the people who dedicate their lives to their study: and what an enjoyable discovery that is."

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The award will be presented Thursday, January 5, 2017, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta.

Find out more about the JPBM Communications Award at http://www.ams.org/profession/prizes-awards/ams-awards/jpbm-comm-award.

The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. The JPBM oversees the JPBM Communications Award and Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month programs.

Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, today the American Mathematical Society, http://www.ams.org, fulfills its mission through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and to everyday life.

The American Statistical Association, http://www.amstat.org/, is the world's largest community of statisticians and data scientists, the "Big Tent for Statistics." The ASA supports excellence in the development, application, and dissemination of statistical science through meetings, publications, membership services, education, accreditation, and advocacy.

The Mathematical Association of America, http://www.maa.org/, is the world's largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts. The MAA accelerates the understanding of our world through mathematics. This is because mathematics drives society and shapes our lives.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, http://www.siam.org/, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual, academic and corporate members from 85 countries. SIAM helps build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology to solve real-world problems through publications, conferences, and communities like chapters, sections and activity groups.

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