Siobhan Roberts - photo by Christopher Wahl
Siobhan Roberts is a Canadian author and science journalist. She is working on a biography of the mathematical logician Verena Huber-Dyson, forthcoming from Pantheon.
Roberts is a regular contributor to The New York Times, and wrote a profile of the applied mathematician Ingrid Daubechies for The New York Times Magazine. In 2021 she did a whirlwind stint as the senior editor on computing at MIT Technology Review. Over the years she has contributed to The New Yorker Elements blog, Quanta, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The National Post, The Guardian, The Mathematical Intelligencer, Maisonneuve, Canadian Geographic, Smithsonian, among other publications.
Her latest book is Genius at Play, The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway. While writing the Conway biography, she was a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, and a Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. In 2017 she won the JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books, bestowed by the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America (putting her in good company with previous recipients James Gleick and Sylvia Nasar). Genius at Play was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
Her previous books are Wind Wizard: Alan G. Davenport and the Art of Wind Engineering (Princeton University Press, 2012), winner of the CSCE W. Gordon Plewes History Award; and King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry (Bloomsbury, 2006), winner of the Mathematical Association of America’s 2009 Euler Prize for expanding the public’s view of mathematics.
She also wrote and produced a documentary film about Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry, for TVOntario’s The View From Here (September 2009).
She has won a few National Magazine Awards—writing about “the river of dust” at the National Archives in Ottawa; that time the FBI came calling at Winnipeg’s level-4 National Microbiology Laboratory; how crisis and paradox combine to produce revolutionary physics at Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute (or so physicists hope); and Donald Coxeter’s final journey, to a geometry conference in Budapest at the age of ninety-three.