Sir Roger Penrose receives 2006 JPBM Communications Award

Sir Roger Penrose of Oxford University is receiving the 2006 Communications Award of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM). Presented annually, this award recognizes outstanding achievement in communicating about mathematics to the nonmathematicians. The JPBM represents the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. The prize will be awarded on Friday, January 13, 2006, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas.

Penrose is honored "for the discovery of Penrose tilings, which have captured the public's imagination, and for an extraordinary series of books that brought the subject of consciousness to the public in mathematical terms." In particular, the award citation praises Penrose's books THE EMPEROR'S NEW MIND (1989) and THE ROAD TO REALITY (2005). The citation states that the award "is a tribute to the way that Dr. Penrose has made the ideas behind high level mathematics accessible to large segments of the general public."

In his response upon receiving the award, Penrose states in part: "I certainly believe in the importance of conveying to the general public, as far as this is possible, something of the real nature of mathematics, not only for its increasing utility across so many areas of importance to modern society, but also for its beauty and for the inner satisfaction that it brings. Perhaps these latter qualities are even more important than the more utilitarian ones; for one cannot really properly understand mathematics without having some kind of appreciation of its aesthetic qualities. Moreover it is a belief (or a faith?) of mine that there are many more out there, among those who claim no appreciation or understanding of mathematics, who actually have within themselves some genuine but unrecognized abilities in this direction."


Find out more about the JPBM Communations Award at

Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, the more than 30,000-member American Mathematical Society fulfills its mission through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and to everyday life.

Contact: Allyn Jackson, American Mathematical Society, [email protected]

(Alternative contact: Annette Emerson, American Mathematical Society, [email protected])

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