Simon Singh

From Academic Kids

Simon Lehna Singh (born 1964) is a British author with a doctorate in physics, who has specialized in writing about mathematical and scientific topics in an accessible manner. He is the youngest of three brothers, his eldest brother being Tom Singh.

His written works include Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem (about Fermat's Last Theorem), The Code Book (about cryptography and its history) and Big Bang (about Big Bang theory and the origins of the universe).

He has also produced documentaries and works for television to accompany his books, is a trustee of NESTA, the National Museum of Science and Industry and co-founded the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme.


His parents emigrated from the Punjab in India to Britain in 1950. He grew up in Wellington, Somerset, attending Wellington School, and then went on to Imperial College London, where he studied Physics, before completing a PhD in particle physics at Cambridge University and at CERN, Geneva. In 1990 he joined the BBC's Science and Features Department, where he was a producer and director working on programmes such as Tomorrow's World and Horizon (television).

In 1996, he directed Fermat's Last Theorem, a BAFTA award-winning documentary about the world's most notorious mathematical problem. The film was memorable for its opening shot of a middle-aged mathematician, Andrew Wiles bursting into tears as he recalled the moment when he thought he had resolved the problem after several years working in secret, released his proof to the world, then found that it still had a hole in it. The documentary was also aired in America as part of the NOVA series. The Proof, as it was re-titled, was nominated for an Emmy Award

The story of this notorious mathematical problem was also the subject of Singh's first book, Fermat's Last Theorem. This was the first book about mathematics to become a No 1 bestseller in the UK. In 1997, he began working on his second book, The Code Book, a history of codes and codebreaking. As well as explaining the science of codes and describing the impact of cryptography on history, the book also contends that cryptography is more important today than ever before. The Code Book has resulted in a return to television for him. He presented The Science of Secrecy, a five part series for Channel 4. The stories in the series range from the cipher that sealed the fate of Mary Queen of Scots to the coded Zimmermann Telegram that changed to course of the First World War. Other programmes discuss how two great 19th century geniuses raced to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs and how modern encryption can guarantee privacy on the Internet.

In 2003, Singh was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Science, Technology and Engineering in Education and Science Communication. In the same year he was made Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by Loughborough University

Currently, he is involved more in television and radio programmes and has just published his third book, The Big Bang, a history of cosmology.

See also

External link

fr:Simon Singh


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