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First Clay Award for Dissemination of Mathematical Knowledge goes to Etienne Ghys

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The Clay Mathematics Institute is best known for handing out a cool million in return for answering a hard question, much like Chris Tarrant.

Anyway, that’s not all they do! The Institute says it is “dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge”, and that now includes handing out an award for Dissemination of Mathematical Knowledge. The first recipient is research mathematician, Frenchman, and all-round top chap Etienne Ghys.

Etienne Ghys, 2012 LMS Hardy Lecturer

It was a couple of weeks ago now that I saw Étienne Ghys deliver a lecture titled On cutting cloth, according to Chebyshev at Newcastle University, as part of his lecture tour as Hardy Fellow for 2012. I had no idea what the talk was about and only a faint idea of who Prof Ghys was but I was persuaded to go by my ex-supervisor, who also happens to be Newcastle’s LMS rep. It turned out to be an enormously interesting and entertaining talk on a very accessible problem (in the sense that you can easily understand what the problem is and why the solution works, if not how you get there) by one of the most eminent mathematicians working today.