Celebrating maths communication

Share this page
One of our favourite mathematicians, Marcus du Sautoy, will receive the 2014 Christopher Zeeman medal for the promotion of mathematics to the public.

Marcus du Sautoy (right) pictured here with Victoria Gould, his partner in the theatre production X&Y.

Du Sautoy has held the Charles Simonyi chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford since 2008 and has been communicating mathematics to the general public for more than twenty years with considerable intensity and impact. His talent for engaging young people and inspiring them to follow mathematics is second to none. He shows the beauty of mathematics to wide audiences, which is a powerful motivator for many people, both young and old.

Du Sautoy has appeared in and presented numerous radio and TV programmes (for example School of Hard Sums ) written many popular books and contributed to theatrical productions. These include two of our favourite plays, A disappearing number (a Complicité production) and X&Y. Du Sautoy's popular books have been exceptionally well-received and have brought mathematics to wide audiences. The music of the primes has been translated into eleven languages and sold more than 100,000 copies.

In 2006 du Sautoy become only the third mathematician to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, which were widely regarded as exceptional. His work with audiences exploring the mathematics in Mozart's Magic Flute is similarly remarkable. And most importantly (to us), du Sautoy has been a fabulous Plus author.

The Christopher Zeeman medal is awarded every three years by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the London Mathematical Society (LMS). In a joint statement, IMA President Professor Dame Celia Hoyles and LMS President Professor Terry Lyons FRS said, "We are delighted to award the 2014 Zeeman Medal to such a brilliant mathematician and exceptional communicator as Marcus du Sautoy. Mathematics plays a vital role in every aspect of our society and Professor du Sautoy plays a unique role in helping the public to become more excited about mathematics. He has an amazing ability to communicate the magic of mathematics to young and old alike, and to enthuse upcoming generations to engage with the subject."

In addition to his work with public engagement du Sautoy has had a distinguished research career in the mathematical sciences, marked by invitations to lecture at high profile international conferences, publications in leading journals and prestigious prizes. His academic research has straddled many areas of mathematics including group theory, number theory, model theory and algebraic geometry.

Du Sautoy said "It means a lot for me to win this prize. I went to Christopher Zeeman's Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution when I was 13 and it was one of the things that inspired me to want to be a mathematician. All the work I've done over the years which has led to this award is my way of saying thank you to Christopher for opening my eyes to what a fantastic subject mathematics is."

Congratulations, Marcus du Sautoy, and hooray for maths communication!