Award for biography of mathematician bigrap
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Wednesday 09 June 1999
The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman is the story of Paul Erdos, a charming and impish philosopher-scientist who saw mathematics as a way of searching for lasting beauty and ultimate truth.
Last night, Hoffman received the 1999 Rhone-Poulence Prize for Science Books - and with it a cheque for pounds 10,000 - at a presentation dinner held at the Science Museum in London.
Fay Weldon, who chaired the panel of judges, said the book was "an unconventional and lively biography of a mathematician, which at the same time makes mathematics sing a little".
Weldon said that Hoffman, who met Erdos in 1986 and interviewed him repeatedly over the last 10 years of his life, had written a book that was "absorbing, witty and illuminating".
The peripatetic Erdos lived most of his life out of two suitcases, and frequently criss-crossed four continents in search of the answer to the most difficult mathematical problems of our age.
The Hungarian emigre had no interest in food, sex, companionship, art or indeed any of the things that are usually indispensable to life, said the writer and psychologist Oliver Sacks.
"[Hoffman] gives us a vivid and strangely moving portrait of this singular creature - one that brings out not only Erdos's genius and his oddness, but his warmth and sense of fun, the joyfulness of his strange life," said Sacks.
This year's Rhone-Poulence prize - the science community's answer to the Booker - had 93 entries with a shortlist of six. The others on the list were:
t How the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker, an attempt to explain the complex chemistry of the human brain;
t Mapping the Mind, by Rita Carter, a journey into the brain with the help of the latest scanning technology;
t One Renegade Cell, by Robert Weinberg, a cancer specialist's description of research into the disease;
t Consilience, by Edward O Wilson, who attempts to draw together the various laws of nature into a unified whole;
t A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar, which describes the life and mind of John Nash, whose contribution to game theory has revolutionised the field of economics.
It is the 11th year of the Prize for Science Books, which was jointly established by the Royal Society, the Royal Institution, the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Science Museum to further public understanding of science.
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This major European Intellectual Propert...
£130 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher Jan 2015 - July...
£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Accounts Assistant is immedi...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...