School of Social and Political Science

SPS academic wins award to promote history of mathematics in schools



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SPS’ Dr Michael Barany has received a national award for his work in popularising the history of mathematics in education.

Michael was selected for a Neil Bibby Award by the British Society for the History of Mathematics, which honours educators’ contributions to the popularization of the history of mathematics and supports engagement with schools and educators.

Michael is a sought-after voice on the links between mathematics and society, frequently appearing in the annual Best Writing on Mathematics anthology of popular mathematics writing, engaging international scientific societies, and sharing critical perspectives on social media.

Free talks and resources

As an award holder, Michael will deliver free talks and create resources for schools in the UK and Ireland, promoting the history of mathematics as a vibrant way to understand mathematics, history, and society.

He was one of two inaugural recipients chosen from across the UK and Ireland for this new award.

Michael is a Lecturer in the History of Science at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science. He focuses on the history and culture of mathematics and science, including the history of the globalisation of mathematics research.

​​​​​​​Exploring the history of mathematics with school audiences

He said: "The British history of mathematics community has an outstanding tradition of bringing the history of mathematics out into the world and engaging with everyone who has a stake in mathematics – i.e. everyone in society. It is a tremendous honour to represent this tradition through this new award, and to get to share some exciting and eye-opening historical perspectives in schools.

“I am planning to use the £400 award to explore with school audiences subjects including the surprisingly playful history of boring arithmetic algorithms, the surprisingly big history of the smallest mathematical objects, and the surprisingly dynamic history blackboards in mathematics and society.”

How schools can get in touch

Schools that would like to work with Dr Barany and might find these talks and resources useful should contact him directly, at m.barany@ed.ac.uk.

More about the awards

The Neil Bibby awards are run by the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM). Neil Bibby was a longstanding BSHM member who worked tirelessly for the teaching of the history of mathematics as part of mathematics education. He and his mother each left generous legacies to the society, which have funded these awards in his honour.

Read more about the awards on the BSHM website.

Find out more

Visit Dr Barany’s profile

Science, Technology and Innovations Studies at the School of Social and Political Science