John Allen Paulos is the recipient of the 2013 Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award. A professor of mathematics at Temple University, Paulos is the author of eight books, including Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, and numerous, widely read columns, commentaries, and reviews. He is also a lively, provocative presence on Twitter (@JohnAllenPaulos).
JPBM established the award in 1988 to reward and encourage communicators who, on a sustained basis, bring mathematical ideas and information to nonmathematical audiences. Past winners have included Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton, who produced the TV series Numb3rs, Marcus du Sautoy (University of Oxford), Steven Strogatz (Cornell University), and Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr.
The award citation lauds Paulos for bringing “mathematically informed ideas, information, opinion, and humor” to a broad audience. His writings “combine real-world stories, forthright opinion, and wide-ranging mathematics to entertain and inform the public, both about timely issues and about how mathematics often can and should underlie public discussion of policy.”
I first became aware of Paulos around 1988 through his book Innumeracy. I later met him when we were both on an advisory group for a public TV series on mathematics, Life by the Numbers. I regularly check out his “Who’s Counting?” columns for ABCNews.com and, of course, follow him on Twitter.
Congratulations to John Allen Paulos. Come meet him at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.—Ivars Peterson