Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Siobhan Roberts's "Genius At Play"

Siobhan Roberts is a Toronto journalist and author whose work focuses on mathematics and science. Her new book is Genius at Play, The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway (Bloomsbury, 2015). While writing the Conway biography, she was a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, and a Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

Her previous books are Wind Wizard: Alan G. Davenport and the Art of Wind Engineering (Princeton University Press, 2012), and King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry (Bloomsbury, 2006). King of Infinite Space won the Mathematical Association of America’s 2009 Euler Prize for expanding the public’s view of mathematics.

Roberts also wrote and produced a documentary film about Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry, for TVOntario’s The View From Here (September 2009).

Here Roberts dreamcasts an adaptation of Genius at Play:
The movie script for Genius At Play, which is in fact quickly writing itself in my head, bears the working title Let It All Hang Out, since that is Conway’s policy toward life in general, and in a sense toward mathematics as well. For the lead role, for young John, we’d need someone who can play the rogue, as well as smart and funny and deep, and with Mick Jagger’s performative charisma and sex appeal. Tom Hardy would do the trick (most recently in Mad Max: Fury Road). I also consulted Conway’s wife Diana on this, and for the older Conway she said there was no question: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) — though I’m not sure Bridges can play a Brit (Hardy with makeup could play both). Ron Howard would be a natural for director (A Beautiful Mind). Or maybe Darren Aronofsky (π), who is known for his surreal films.
Learn more about the book and author at Siobhan Roberts' website.

Writers Read: Siobhan Roberts.

The Page 99 Test: Genius At Play.

--Marshal Zeringue