Siobhan Roberts - photo by Christopher Wahl
Siobhan Roberts is a Canadian author and science journalist, currently a contributor to The New York Times “Science Times.” She is writing a biography of the mathematical logician Verena Huber-Dyson (forthcoming from Pantheon).
In 2020 she was the journalist in residence at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, at UC Berkeley; and at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies in Germany.
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).
At various times she has contributed to The New Yorker “Elements” blog, Quanta, The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, The Mathematical Intelligencer, Maisonneuve, Canadian Geographic, and Smithsonian, among other publications. 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.