The Christopher Zeeman Medal for the Promotion of Mathematics to the Public for 2014 has been awarded to Professor Marcus du Sautoy of the University of Oxford.
The Christopher Zeeman Medal is awarded jointly by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and is described on the IMA website as follows:
The Christopher Zeeman Medal has been created to recognise and acknowledge the contributions of mathematicians involved in promoting mathematics to the public and engaging with the public in mathematics in the UK, and demonstrate that such activities are valued by the societies and the mathematical community at large and are a part of a mathematician’s roles and responsibilities.
The medal is named in honour of Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman, one of the UK’s foremost mathematicians who was heavily involved in communication of mathematics with the public. In 1978, Sir Christopher was the first ever mathematician to deliver a set of Royal Institution Christmas lectures, and Marcus himself followed in his footsteps in 1996, as the third mathematician to deliver the Christmas lectures.
The Medal has been awarded since 2008, and Marcus joins Professor Ian Stewart and Professor John Barrow as a recipient of the award. Professor du Sautoy says,
‘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.’
Professor du Sautoy has spent more than 20 years engaging the public with maths, through numerous (ha!) TV and radio programmes, books, and more recently theatre projects including X&Y and A Disappearing Number.