SIAM News Blog

Winner Circle: 2016 JPBM Communications Awardees

By Lina Sorg

Science writer Simon Singh and the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) are dual recipients of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics’ (JPBM) 2016 Communications Award. Singh, who is receiving the 2016 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books, has authored many texts with mathematical elements. MoMath, a hands-on science center in New York, is receiving the 2016 JPBM Communications Award for Public Outreach.

Science writer Simon Singh.

Meet Simon Singh

Although he holds a doctorate in particle physics, Singh’s interest in mathematics is evident in his published works. Among his first achievements is The Proof, an exciting documentary recounting Andrew Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. Fermat’s Enigma, a subsequent book on the same subject, was met with success and has been translated into over 25 languages. Some of Singh’s other noteworthy titles include The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code Breaking (1999), The Big Bang (2004), and The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets (2013), which explores the numerous mathematical references in the beloved television show. In addition to books, Singh has produced TV and radio programs in the United Kingdom, partaken in stage productions involving mathematics, and contributed to numerous school-based projects.

Meet the National Museum of Mathematics

The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) is a hands-on science center in New York.
Open since 2009, MoMath is Manhattan’s sole hands-on science center. It was the first mathematics museum in the United States. Visitors can explore interactive programs, exhibits, and galleries that highlight the creative structures, patterns, and evolution of mathematics. MoMath offers something for every age, but is especially tailored to 4th through 8th graders. Family Fridays and Math Encounters, a monthly free program for the public, are family-friendly events that make mathematics exciting and accessible for students. The museum also offers an after-school program called Expansions, school field trips, and the largest public outdoor illustration of the Pythagorean Theorem.

About the Award

The JPBM Communication Award is presented annually, and was established in 1988 to honor communicators and/or journalists who regularly and successfully convey mathematical material and ideas to nonmathematical audiences. Recipients need not be mathematicians. The 2016 awards will be presented to Singh and MoMath at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Seattle today, January 7, 2016.

The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics is comprised of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

About SIAM: The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 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. Learn more at

Lina Sorg is the associate editor of SIAM News. 

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