Genius at Play - An inadvertently authorized biography



“For Elisabetta Matsumoto, Knitting is Coding and Yarn is Programmable,” The New York Times.

“In Bubbles, She Sees a Mathematical Universe,” The New York Times.

“She Invented a Board Game About Birds with Scientific Integrity. It’s Taking Off,” The New York Times.

“The Perfect Valentine? A Math Formula,” The New York Times.

“Carolina Araujo and A Movement to Close the Gender Gap in Mathematics,” Quanta.

“Donald Knuth, The Yoda of Silicon Valley,” The New York Times.

“This Is the Way the Paper Crumples,” The New York Times.

“An Italian Cosmologist Who Wanders in Dante’s Dark Wood,” Quanta.

“Michael Atiyah’s Mathematical Dreams,” in The Prime Number Conspiracy (Quanta/MIT Press)

“Her Key to Modelling Brains: Ignore the Right Details,” Quanta.

“Dark Matter Gets Its Day,” The New Yorker.

“Lotfi Zadeh, The Inventor of Fuzzy Logic,” The New Yorker.

“What a snafu at the 2014 Fields Medal ceremony teaches us about the late, great Maryam Mirzakhani,” The New Yorker.

“In Mathematics, ‘You Cannot Be Lied To,'” Quanta.

“Christopher Strachey’s 1950s Love Machine,” The New Yorker.

The AMS+MAA (et al) JPBM Award. Grand to be in such fine company!

Wind Wizard wins the 2017 CSCE W. Gordon Plewes Award!—for its contribution to the history of civil engineering in Canada.

“Pencils Down: Experiments in Education,” Quanta.

“An ‘Infinitely Rich’ Mathematician Turns 100,” Nautilus.

“Waiting for Gödel,” at The New Yorker

More for The New Yorker: “The Dice You Never Knew You Needed” & “The Father of Information Theory Turns 1100100.”

Shortlisted! For the CSWA Science in Society Book Award.

Longlisted! For the RBC Taylor Prize.

Longlisted! For the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

“Unflinchingly honest.”

—Arthur I Miller, Physics World

“One of the oddest, most enticing biographies I have ever read. The biography of someone who is just a figment of the imagination—but what an imagination—that of John Horton Conway himself.”

—Mélanie Frappier, Literary Review of Canada

Conwaycast! On the Guardian’s Science Weekly with the fabulous Ian Sample.

Authors@Google NYC: conversation with Conway about his love/hate relationship with Life.

“Meet the world’s most charismatic mathematician” —Conway takes the Guardian ! (a Long Read, adapted from the book)

“Makes you laugh with surprise.”

—Jordan Ellenberg, The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times’ Gary Antonick throws the spotlight on Conway and the “Look and Say Sequence,” and the book: “Roberts is ingenious… in bringing this unpredictable, unmanageable, impossibly brilliant mathematician to life in this vivid and intimate portrayal.”

Talking Conway with the delightful whiz Tim Harford on BBC Radio 4’s More or Less.

Schoonheid! Genius At Play“a first-class story” —in Amsterdam’s NRC Handelsblad.

From the book tour diary: “Cogito, Ergo Summer” for The New Yorker.

“Roberts’s ‘kaleidoscope of inquiry’ is a marvel for its virtuoso juggling of narrative speeds, reminiscences, implausible digressions and long passages of precise, comprehensible mathematics. She packs it all into a tidy chronology framed by the story of a road movie starring Conway.”

—Michael Harris, Nature

Genius At Play is Recommended by Scientific American: “[The] biography demonstrates how the man’s playfulness and originality has fed into the creativity and intelligence of his ideas… [Genius At Play] resonates with Conway’s voice—which gets its own special font—and his discussions with the author provide the narrative’s best glimpses into how his mind darts and weaves.”

— Sarah Lewin

Genius At Play gets the Leonard Lopate treatment on NPR’s WNYC (wherein Leonard redefines a surreal number as the number of seconds between a New York City traffic light turning green and the cab driver behind you honking his horn).

Conway goes to the beach… NPR’s Science Friday puts Genius At Play on its beach bag reading list.

Genius At Play gets a starred review in Publishers Weekly, wherein Conway is declared: “Perhaps the greatest living genius unknown to the general public.”

English prof Bryce Christensen gives Genius At Play a starred review in Booklist, finding it an “engrossing biography” and a “chronicle of invincible confusion.” (!)

Buy the book

Bloomsbury Publishing
Barnes & Noble