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Roberts, Siobhan

Roberts, Siobhan

PERSONAL: Female.

ADDRESSES: Home— Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Writer and journalist. National Post, Canada, national reporter and feature writer, 1999-2001.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Magazine Award (two), Canada, for articles “Figure Head” in Toronto Life and “Broken Records” in Saturday Night.

WRITINGS

King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry, Anansi (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including SEED, Walrus, Toronto Life, Saturday Night, Canadian Geographic, Mathematical Intelligencer, Globe and Mail, and the National Post. King of Infinite Space has also been published in Italy, Japan, and Korea.

SIDELIGHTS: Siobhan Roberts is a freelance journalist who wrote an article about mathematician Donald Coxeter that won Canada’s National Magazine Award and led her to write the book King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry. The biography combines the life story of Coxeter and, in the process, reveals the progress of twentieth-century mathematics. In her story of the late mathematician at Toronto University, Roberts examines how, in her opinion, Coxeter kept the field of classical geometry from falling into oblivion during the many advances of modern mathematics. Although some were decrying geometry as irrelevant by the 1940s and 1950s, Roberts writes that Coxeter’s work on group theory and the principles of symmetry reestablished geometry’s validity and influenced noted mathematicians and inventors such as Buckminster Fuller. She also describes Coexter’s relationship with graphic artist M.C. Escher. Ian D. Gordon, writing in the Library Journal, called King of Infinite Space“a significant work for mathematicians at all levels.” Toronto Globe and Mail reviewer Jeffrey S. Rosenthal referred to the biography as “part biography, part scientific history and part epic,” adding that “the book also occasionally offers poignant looks into Coxeter’s soul.” In a review in Booklist, Gilbert Taylor noted that the “biography bears inclusion in the popular mathematics collection.” A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: “Roberts . . . puts most of the technical material in appendixes, so the text is readily accessible to a general audience.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry, p. 12.

Chicago Tribune, December 3, 2006, Nathan L. Harshman, review of King of Infinite Space.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), October 14, 2006, Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, review of King of Infinite Space.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Ian D. Gordon, review of King of Infinite Space, p. 118.

Publishers Weekly, June 26, 2006, review of King of Infinite Space, p. 43.

Science News, October 14, 2006, review of King of Infinite Space, p. 255.

ONLINE

Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary, http://trashotron.com/agony/ (September 8, 2006), review of King of Infinite Space.

American Scientist Online, http://www.americanscientist.org/ (January 25, 2007), Greg Ross, “The Bookshelf Talks with Siobhan Roberts.”

Not Even Wrong, http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/ (October 19, 2006), review of King of Infinite Space.

Siobhan Roberts Home Page, http://www.siobhanroberts.com (January 25, 2007).

Walker Books Web site, http://www.walkerbooks.com/ (January 25, 2007), profile of author.*

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