Christopher Zeeman Medal award

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. At the request of the Councils of the IMA and the LMS, the medal has been named in honour of Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman FRS, who presented the first award.

In 1978, Sir Christopher became the first mathematician to deliver the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures, and his ‘Mathematics into Pictures’ series is now cited as an important influence to many young mathematicians. The Christopher Zeeman Medal is awarded jointly by the two societies every two years. Nominees should be mathematicians who have been actively involved in mathematics (including research, teaching and applications in any sector of employment).

2018 Christopher Zeeman award:

We are delighted to announce that the Councils of the IMA and LMS have awarded the Christopher Zeeman Medal in 2018 to Dr Hannah Fry of University College London, for her contributions to the public understanding of the mathematical sciences.

Hannah Fry is a Senior Lecturer in the mathematics of cities at UCL and an honorary lecturer in the UCL Mathematics Department. She is actively involved in mathematical modelling of urban and social systems. Besides her mathematical research, she has a sustained and distinguished record of communicating mathematics to the public, with a huge portfolio of public engagement activities including books, videos, radio, TV, and public talks, which between them reach vast audiences.

Hannah Fry’s dedication in promoting mathematics to the widest possible public has not only done untold good for the subject, but has provided a powerful role model for mathematicians, most especially female ones, making mathematics feel more relevant, more humorous and most of all more human. Her spectacular success in an otherwise notoriously difficult endeavour may be ascribed to a unique and enviable set of characteristics.

A full citation can be found here.

The medal will be awarded at a ceremony to take place in on Thursday 5th March 2019 (details here), where Dr Fry will also give a lecture.

Remit:

The Award is given for excellence in the promotion of mathematics to the public or engagement with the public in mathematics in the UK.

Aims:

  • 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.
  • To encourage others, by recognising good practice in such activities.
  • To demonstrate to the wider community that such activities are valued by the societies and by the mathematical community at large, and are a part of a mathematician’s roles and responsibilities.

Criteria for activities promoting mathematics to the public and engaging with the public in mathematics:

  • The range of eligible activities should be inclusive and wide-ranging, including (but not limited to) both direct and indirect activities with the public, the use of mass media, engaging the public in debate, writing of books or media columns, or organising major events promoting engagement with mathematics.
  • The activity must be aimed at a significant section of the lay public.
  • The activity may address any aspect of mathematics and its applications including the role of mathematics in matters of public interest.
  • A pivotal role in the initiation of new activity or in promoting mathematics would be eligible, provided that initiative or activity itself is primarily and directly addressing the public and that the nominee’s role is central and identifiable.
  • Specific, one-off achievements, and longer-term involvement across a range of activities, are equally eligible.
  • Service to the mathematical community per se is not eligible unless the activity also meets the criteria (b)–(d) above.

Eligibility:

  • Nominees must be mathematicians who have been actively involved in mathematics (including research, teaching or application in any sector of employment).
  • Retired mathematicians are eligible to be considered.
  • A mathematician is anyone who would be entitled to corporate membership of the IMA or membership of the LMS. It is not necessary for a nominee to be a member of either society.
  • The recipient should not be a Councillor of either organisation at the time of the nomination or at the time of ratification by Councils.

Past Zeeman Medal winners: