Issue date: 28 November 2006
The University of the West of England is awarding the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology to Dr Simon Singh MBE in recognition of Simon Singh's outstanding contribution to the public understanding of science, in particular in the promotion of science, engineering and mathematics in schools and in the building of links between universities and schools. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences on Friday 1 December at 18.00 at Bristol Cathedral.
Simon Lehna Singh was born in Wellington, Somerset and educated at Wellington School and Imperial College, London, where he completed an honours degree in physics. He went on to complete a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1989 at Cambridge University and the European Centre for Particle Physics (CERN, Geneva), co-authoring several papers on particle detectors and the search for the top quark.
In 1990, Simon Singh joined the BBC's Science Department where he was a producer and director of programmes such as 'Tomorrows World' and 'Horizon'. In 1996, he directed and co-produced 'Fermat's Last Theorem', a BAFTA award warning documentary on the mathematical problem of the same name. This documentary was broadcast as part of the Horizon series on BBC2. It was also aired as part of the Nova series in the United States of America where, re-titled as, 'The Proof', it was nominated for an Emmy. The story of this mathematical problem was also the subject of Simon Singh's first book; 'Fermat's Last Theorem'. The first book about mathematics ever to become a No 1 best seller in the United Kingdom, it has since been translated into twenty-five languages and sold half a million copies. The book, renamed 'Fermat's Enigma' in the United States, was short listed for the Aventis Science Book Prize.
Simon Singh's second book, 'The Code Book' was published in 1999. A history of codes and code breaking from Ancient Egypt to the Internet, it has become an international bestseller. As well as being widely used in the cryptology community, it has won national book prizes in Germany and Italy. 'The Code Book' resulted in a return to television and Simon Singh presented, 'The Science of Secrecy', a five part series for Channel 4. Broadcast in 2000, it won the Vega Award for the Outstanding Science Programme. His third book, 'The Big Bang' a history of cosmology was published in 2005 and reached the New York's bestsellers list.
Simon Singh is a science writer and has been involved in numerous interviews and discussions on both radio and television. He was previously a columnist for 'The Independent on Sunday' and continues to write features for the United Kingdom broadsheets as well as book reviews and contributions to magazines such as: 'New Statesman'; 'New Scientist'; and, 'Scientific American'.
Simon Singh co-founded the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme which encourages Universities to find classroom posts for undergraduates as part of their degree studies. He also started the Enigma Project, which runs code-breaking workshops in schools, aimed at showing the applications of mathematics and its impact on history.
Until 2006, Simon Singh was a trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry (including the London Science Museum) and a trustee of the National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts. He is a board member of the Science Media Centre and CaSE (Campaign for Science and Engineering) and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications. In 2003, Simon Singh received an MBE for services to science communication and education.