Who got that cash?

September 23, 2005

Marcus du Sautoy , 55, an Oxford University professor of mathematics, has been given a multimedia challenge of bringing maths to the masses.

Professor du Sautoy has been awarded £144,061 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for a three-year media fellowship project that will see him produce a television series, several radio shows, a book and numerous magazine and newspaper features on mathematics.

"It's about putting maths in historical and cultural perspective, to show people that maths is relevant to their lives," he said.

Professor du Sautoy, a Royal Society research fellow based at Oxford's Mathematical Institute, already hosts the quiz show Mind Games on BBC 4. A documentary about his book Music of the Primes is due to be aired on BBC 4 on September 28.

"I think there is quite an appetite out there for knowing what maths is about. Once we show that it can be done on telly, people will really lap it up.

"People know what physics, biology and DNA is all about. There is still a bit of mystery about maths. What does a mathematician do all day?"

Professor du Sautoy is pushing to make maths more accessible through unusual channels, such as music magazines.

Puzzles such as Su Doku are becoming very popular and by building on such trends, he hopes to fuse academia with popular interest.

"There is a really important message in communicating discoveries.There is no point in doing something and not telling people about it. Science is about discovery and communication, and not just preaching to the converted."

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