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Claire & Helaman Ferguson Receive the JPBM Communications Award

Claire & Helaman Ferguson Receive the JPBM Communications Award

The Umbilic Torus by Helaman Ferguson

At SIAM's Fiftieth Anniversary meeting in July, the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics presented its Communications Award to Claire and Helaman Ferguson. The citation said that the Fergusons "together have dazzled 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."

Helaman Ferguson began his studies as an apprentice to a stone mason, then studied painting at Hamilton College and sculpture in graduate school. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Universty of Washington in Seattle and taught the subject for 17 years at Brigham Young University. He now lives and works in Laurel, Maryland where he has set up an extensive studio in his home. In addition to selling his works, he designs algorithms for operating machinery and for scientific visualization. He has exhibited and sold his sculptures worldwide.

Claire Ferguson has worked closely with Helaman as curator, expositor, and publicist on his mathematical sculptures. She is author of the book Helaman Ferguson, Mathematics in Stone and Bronze. She is also an artist in her own right and has won scholarships and prizes for her work.

The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) is comprised of three organizations: the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and SIAM. The JPBM Communications Award was first established in 1988 to reward and encourage writers and artists who, on a sustained basis, accurately convey the content and spirit of mathematics to non-mathematical audiences. Past winners of the award include James Gleick (author of Chaos), Ivars Peterson (author of several books, many articles in Science News, and a regular column on MAA Online), Joel Schneider (creator of "Square One TV"), Martin Gardner (author of many books and, for many years, of the "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American), and Sylvia Nasar (author of A Beautiful Mind).

For more on Helaman Ferguson's sculpture, visit

News Date: 
Tuesday, August 27, 2002