Author Profile: Eugenia Cheng

Author Profile:  Eugenia Cheng or Eugenia Loh Gene Cheng, is a British mathematician, pianist, honorary fellow of pure mathematics at the University of Sheffield and also Scientist-in-Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Name: Eugenia Cheng

Timeline:

2015 – How to Bake Pi

2017 – Beyond Infinity: An Expedition ….

2018 – The Art of Logic: How to make sense in a world that Doesn’t

2018 – The Art of Logic in an Illogical World

2020 – X+Y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto or Rethinking Gender

Background: She is born in Hampshire, United Kingdom.

She is well known for ‘How to Bake Pi’ and has prepared her Thesis in Higher-dimensional category theory: opetopic foundations (2002). Eugenia Cheng completed her B.A. and Ph.D. education at the Roedean School and University of Cambridge. Martin Hyland is her academic advisor and post graduate research supervisor. She has studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Sheffield, University of Chicago and University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. Schooling bored Eugenia a lot but each day she read voraciously and played the piano without fail. She is said to be very particular about eating.

Eugenia Cheng recalls the day, graphs were introduced to her by her mother. At that time she felt as if her brain started contorting and while doing research, she still gets that similar feeling. She feels readers can share her similar feeling. Beyond Infinity starts with an energetic description of endlessness, before the mathematical territory is explored, the concept opens up with the help of Winnie-the-Pooh, snorkeling and iPods.

Eugenia works for the Wall Street Journal in which she writes a column called Everyday Math on topics including set theory, probability theory and Rubik’s Cube solutions.

Genre: Her genre is Category Theory popular mathematics. Eugenia Cheng’s mathematical interests include higher-dimensional category theory. She is also a pianist specializing in lieder and art song. She has the passion to teach mathematics to non-mathematicians to help them get rid of their phobia for mathematics. She uses entertaining analogies with baking and food very often.

Literary Contributions: Readers received her first book, How to Bake Pi, really well and it has been translated into French as well. Beyond Infinity was shortlisted for the 2017 Insight Investment Science Book Prize under the Royal Society Prizes for Science Books.

Unique Stylistic Features:

When she turned one year old she moved with her family to Sussex and spent her childhood years there. Right from a young age she developed great interest in Mathematics, thanks to her mother who made the subject a part of life for Eugenia. Her father played an important supportive role by encouraging her to be imaginative. However, it was the mother who influenced Eugenia more, used the logic language naturally and stimulated mathematical ideas in her.

Her first book, How to Bake Pi begins with a recipe for a desert in each chapter, illustrating principles and commonalities of cooking and mathematics. Beyond Infinity, Eugenia’s second book uses anecdotes and analogies including Zeno’s paradoxes and diagonal argument, for lay audiences. The Art of Logic in an Illogical World, her third book explores topics in the real-world including white privilege, same-sex marriage and police brutality in the United States. She uses explanations of Euclid’s axioms and Russell’s paradox and methods of logic.

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