The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Known worldwide for his work in popularizing mathematics, Marcus du Sautoy is respected as one of the UK’s leading scientists. The charismatic mathematics professor and science communicator is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, where he has held the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science since 2008. “A mathematically and scientifically literate society is essential given the huge role science now plays in our world,” says du Sautoy. The young du Sautoy was influenced by the “communicative side” of his mother and the “mathematical side” of his father, who, in 1978, took him to the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures – which he went on to deliver himself nearly 30 years later. With an honours degree in mathematics from Oxford’s Wadham College and later a DPhil from the university’s Mathematical Institute, du Sautoy soon gained recognition for making difficult mathematical concepts palatable to the public. He accomplished this through his articles in Britain’s leading newspapers and appearances on BBC Radio and TV, on such programmes as Mind Games, The Story of Maths, and the more recent Precision: the Measure of All Things. He has also written books including The Music of the Primes (2003), Finding Moonshine: A Mathematician’s Journey Through Symmetry (2008) and The Num8er My5teries: A Mathematical Odyssey Through Everyday Life (2010). Du Sautoy received the Berwick Prize (2001); the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize (2009) for excellence in communicating science (2009); and the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010 for services to science. Known as an iconoclast, du Sautoy plays football and the trumpet. Apart from these pursuits, he collaborates regularly with many different artists, exploring the connection between mathematics and music. He is a supporter of Common Hope, an organization that helps underprivileged people in Guatemala. Du Sautoy is currently writing a new book, What We Cannot Know.