A man with a passion for explaining mathematics

I had the pleasure of working with Jon over several articles he wrote or co-wrote for The Conversation. I always admired his enthusiasm for explaining all things mathematical to a wide audience – especially a non-mathematician audience. The first article he penned for us was on his favourite number, pi, and he contributed several other articles on pi over the years, especially on Pi Day.

Several of Jon’s articles we published were co-written with his long-time friend David Bailey and co-author of articles originally published on their Math Drudge website. Other articles were original ideas that he would pitch to us or works myself and other Conversation editors would commission.

Nothing seemed too much for Jon, no request from us was ever turned down (that I can remember), and he always wrote with that same enthusiasm. When the movieĀ The Man Who Knew Infinity was released in 2015, I remember contacting Jon to see what his thoughts were in it and the depiction of the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. After a long telephone conversation it was clear I had found the perfect person to write such an article.

We talked then about one day catching up in person, our contact was always only by phone or email. Sadly, we never got to make such a meeting a reality. It was a sad day when I heard of Jon’s death. I will miss those email and phone conversations, and I will miss his enthusiasm for telling the world about the wonder and beauty of mathematics. [Michael Lund, Science and Technology editor for The Conversation]

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