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This award was established by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) in 1988 to reward and encourage communicators who, on a sustained basis, bring mathematical ideas and information to nonmathematical audiences. Both mathematicians and non-mathematicians are eligible. Currently, the $2,000 award is made annually. JPBM is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the American Statistical Association, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

List of Recipients


John Bailer, Richard Campbell, and Rosemary Pennington
The 2021 JPBM Communications Award is presented to John Bailer, Richard Campbell, and Rosemary Pennington for their engaging, entertaining, and enlightening Stats + Stories podcast that for over six years has brought “the statistics behind the stories and the stories behind the statistics” to public radio and a broad podcast audience.

Erica Klarreich
The 2021 JPBM Communications Award is presented to Erica Klarreich for her work as a writer and popularizer of mathematics and science. She writes about mathematics and theoretical computer science, and her writing has been chosen for and reprinted in Best Writing on Mathematics in four different years. Her works have appeared in Quanta, The Atlantic, New Scientist, Science News,Wired and other publications for a general audience. Erica Klarreich received a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1997.


Vi Hart
Vi Hart is receiving the award for entertaining, thought-provoking mathematics and music videos on YouTube that explain mathematical concepts through doodles. Hart is well known among the younger generation for videos, which include the series “Doodling in Math Class” and have an audience of millions. In addition, Hart has also authored publications in computational geometry, mathematics and music, mathematical art, and mathematics education.

Matt Parker
Matt Parker will receive the 2018 JPBM Communication Award for communicating the excitement of mathematics to a worldwide audience through YouTube videos, TV and radio appearances, book and newspaper writings, and stand-up comedy. In 2008 he started MathsJams, as an informal gathering of people who enjoy talking about mathematics in the pub, and it has gone on to become a global phenomenon with its own annual conference.


Arthur Benjamin
JPBM Communications Award for Public Outreach
The 2017 JPBM Communications Award for Public Outreach is given to Art Benjamin, for his books aimed at general audiences, his TED Talk on “mathemagic,” and his popular “Great Courses” for the Teaching Company. Arthur Benjamin’s work demonstrates his ability and commitment to share the joy of mathematics, and excites and engages audiences at all levels.

Siobhan Roberts
JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books
The 2017 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books is presented to Siobhan Roberts for her engaging biographies of eminent mathematicians and articles about mathematics that are appreciated by the general public and scientific audiences alike. The acclaimed biographies King of Infinite Space (about H. S. M. Coxeter) and Genius at Play (about John Horton Conway) bring her subjects to life and make the importance of their mathematical accomplishments accessible to all.


Museum of Mathematics
JPBM Communications Award for Public Outreach
This award is presented to the Museum of Mathematics, “MoMath” for its innovative approach to presenting fundamental mathematical ideas to the public in a variety of creative, informative and entertaining exhibits and events that engage audiences with beauty and utility of mathematics in daily life.

Simon Singh
JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books
The award is presented to Simon Singh for his fascinating books on mathematical topics, including Fermat’s Engima, The Code Book, and The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, which have opened up the beauty of mathematics and mathematical thinking to broad audiences with clear and charming prose.


Nate Silver
His books and website have helped the public better understand the world through sound and innovative use of statistics and extraordinarily lucid explanations of his work.


Danica McKellar
Her books, blog, and public appearances have encouraged countless middle and high school students, especially girls, to be more interested in mathematics.


John Allen Paulos
For books, columns, reviews, speeches, and editorials that have for more than twenty-five years brought mathematically informed ideas, information, opinion, and humor to a broad nonspecialist audience.


Dana Mackenzie
For producing a remarkably broad and deep body of writing for experts and nonexperts alike.


Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton
For their positive portrayal of the power and fun of mathematics through their hit TV series, Numb3rs.


Marcus du Sautoy
For complementing his love of mathematical discovery with a passion for communicating mathematics to a broad public.


George Csicsery
For communicating the beauty and fascination of mathematics and the passion of those who pursue it.


Carl Bialik
For increasing the public’s understanding of mathematical concepts.


Steven H. Strogatz
For making a consistent effort to reach out to a wider audience.


Roger Penrose
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.


Barry Cipra
For writing about mathematics of every kind—from the most abstract to the most applied—for nearly twenty years. His lucid explanations of complicated ideas at the frontiers of research have appeared in dozens of articles in newspapers, magazines, and books.


No award was presented for this year.


Robert Osserman
For being an erudite spokesman for mathematics, communicating its charm and excitement to thousands of people from all walks of life.


Helaman and Claire Ferguson
For dazzling the mathematical community and a far wider public with exquisite sculptures embodying mathematical ideas, along with artful and accessible essays and lectures elucidating the mathematical concepts.


Keith J. Devlin
For his many contributions to public understanding of mathematics through great numbers of radio and television appearances; public talks; books; and articles in magazines, newsletters, newspapers, journals, and online.


Sylvia Nasar
For A Beautiful Mind, her biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr.


Ian Stewart
For communicating the excitement of science and mathematics to millions of people around the world for more than twenty years. Also a “Special Communications Award” to John Lynch and Simon Singh for their exceptional contributions to public understanding of mathematics through their documentary on Andrew Wiles and the Fermat Conjecture, entitled Fermat’s Last Theorem (shown on NOVA as The Proof).


Constance Reid
For writing about mathematics with grace, knowledge, skill, and clarity.


Philip J. Davis
For being a prolific communicator of mathematics to the general public.


Gina Kolata
For consistently giving outstanding coverage to many of the most exciting breakthroughs in mathematics and computer science over the past twenty years.


Martin Gardner
For authoring numerous books and articles about mathematics, including his long-running Scientific American column, “Mathematical Games,” and his books, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science and Mathematical Carnival.


Joel Schneider
For “Square One TV.”


Ivars Peterson
For exceptional skill in communicating mathematics to the general public over the last decade.


Hugh Whitemore
For contributions to communicating mathematics to the public in his play, Breaking the Code, which chronicles the brilliant but troubled life of the British mathematician Alan Turing.


James Gleick
For sustained and outstanding contributions in communicating mathematics to the general public.