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— Event Details — Bestselling author Simon Singh discusses his career as a science writer. He will cover “Fermat’s Last Theorem” (the first book about mathematics to become a No.1 bestseller in the UK), The Code Book (a history of cryptography) and The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets (an examination of the mind-blowing mathematics hidden in the world’s most successful TV show).
Simon's books include:
Fermat's Last Theorem (1997) – the theorem's initial conjecture and eventual proof
The Code Book (1999) – a history of cryptography – ISBN 978-1-85702-879-9
Big Bang (2004) – discusses models for the origin of the universe – ISBN 0-00-719382-3
Trick or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine on Trial (2008) (with Edzard Ernst) – examines various types of alternative medicine, finds lack of evidence – ISBN 0-593-06129-2
The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets (2013) – highlights mathematical references in The Simpsons – ISBN 1-620-40277-7
In 1983, he was part of the UA2 experiment in CERN. In 1990 Singh joined the BBC's Science and Features Department, where he was a producer and director working on programmes such as Tomorrow's World and Horizon. Singh was introduced to Richard Wiseman through their collaboration on Tomorrow's World. At Wiseman's suggestion, Singh directed a segment about politicians lying in different mediums, and getting the public's opinion on if the person was lying or not.
Singh directed his BAFTA award-winning documentary about the world's most notorious mathematical problem entitled «Fermat's Last Theorem» in 1996. The film was memorable for its opening shot of a middle-aged mathematician, Andrew Wiles, holding back tears as he recalled the moment when he finally realised how to resolve the fundamental error in his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. The documentary was originally transmitted in October 1997 as an edition of the BBC Horizon series. It was also aired in America as part of the NOVA series. The Proof, as it was re-titled, was nominated for an Emmy Award.
On 19 April 2008, The Guardian published Singh's column «Beware the Spinal Trap», an article that was critical of the practice of chiropractic and which resulted in Singh being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). The article developed the theme of the book that Singh and Edzard Ernst had published, Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, and made various statements about the lack of usefulness of chiropractic «for such problems as ear infections and infant colic». A «furious backlash» to the lawsuit resulted in the filing of formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24-hour period, with one national chiropractic organisation ordering its members to take down their websites. Simon won the case and this resulted in a change of libel law in this country.