Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted science writer and curator whose work focuses on the relations between science and the wider cultural landscape.
Margaret is the author of Pythagoras’ Trousers, a history of the relationship between physics and religion; The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet; and Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons and Alternative Theories of Everything.
A native Australian, Wertheim has degrees in physics and mathematics. As a journalist, she has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Sciences, New Scientist, and The Guardian. From 2000-2005 she wrote the “Quark Soup” science column for the LA Weekly, and is a long-standing contributor to Cabinet, the renowned culture quarterly. Margaret has contributed essays to many anthologies including Seeing Further, a 2010 volume celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society. Her work was included in Best American Science Writing 2003, edited by Oliver Sacks.
Margaret has lectured widely at universities and colleges around the world, including Oxford University, Sydney University, University of Cape Town, and Princeton Theological Seminary. She has created a dozen television science programs, including the six-part ABC-Australia series Catalyst, which was aimed at teenage girls. In 2006 Margaret won the excellence in journalism award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences and in 2004 she was the US National Science Foundation’s visiting journalist to Antarctica. In the 2011-2012 academic year she is serving as the inaugural Discovery Fellow at U.S.C. Libraries.
In 2003, Margaret and her twin sister Christine founded the Institute For Figuring (IFF), an innovative Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to the aesthetic and poetic dimensions of science and mathematics. The IFF hosts lectures, curates exhibitions, publishes books and maintains an extensive website. (www.theiff.org) The IFF has designed exhibitions for galleries and museums around the world, including Santa Monica Museum of Art, Machine Project (Los Angeles), Art Center College of Design (Pasadena), the Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles), the Science Gallery (Dublin), The Hayward (London), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (Washington D.C.)
The IFF’s “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef” project is the biggest participatory art/science project in the world and has inspired communities throughout the USA, the UK, Australia, Latvia, Ireland, South Africa, Croatia, Norway and Germany. See www.crochetcoralreef.org.
In 2009 Margaret spoke about the Crochet Reef project at the TED Conference.