Royal Society awards first ever Kavli Education Medal

23 September 2010

The first ever “Royal Society Kavli Education Medal” has been awarded to Professor Celia Hoyles from the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London. The Medal, established by agreement with the Kavli Foundation, will be made biennially in recognition of a distinguished contribution made by an individual to science or mathematics education.

Professor Hoyles has had a long and prominent career in mathematics education and research. She began by teaching mathematics in London schools before moving into higher education. She has directed over 30 research and consultancy projects concerned with mathematics at all levels and in a variety of contexts and published widely in articles and books.

Her major research interests are: secondary students’ conceptions of proof and strategies for teaching proof, the mathematical skills needed in modern workplaces, the design and implementation of computational environments for learning and sharing mathematics and systemic change in the professional development of teachers of mathematics. Recent books include: Mathematics Education and Technology-Rethinking the terrain (2009, co-editor) Springer, and Improving Mathematics at Work: The need for Techno-mathematical Literacies (2010, co-author) Routledge. She has been awarded honorary doctorates, by the Open University in 2006, and Loughborough University in 2008.

Professor Hoyles was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2004 for services to mathematics education and was chosen as the first recipient of the International Commission of Mathematics Instruction (ICMI) Hans Freudenthal medal in recognition of her cumulative programme of research. In December 2004 she took up the position of the U.K. Government’s Chief Adviser for Mathematics a position she held until November 2007. In June 2007, Professor Hoyles was appointed as Director of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

Professor Hoyles co-presented a popular TV mathematics quiz show, Fun and Games, which topped the prime-time ratings between 1987 and 1990.

Dame Nancy Rothwell FRS, chair of the selecting committee for the award, said:

“We are very pleased to be able to make our first award to an individual that has made an invaluable contribution to mathematics education at every stage in her career. Her time as Chief Advisor for Mathematics to the UK government was pivotal in raising the profile of mathematics within Whitehall, ensuring that rigorous research had a direct impact on policy development.  At a time when a good mathematics education system is vital to our country’s future economic competitiveness, her continued contributions are very highly appreciated.”

Commenting on her award, Professor Hoyles said:

“I have loved mathematics all my life and have worked to foster this love and engagement in others through my research and practice.  As an educator rather than a practicing mathematical researcher, the award of a medal by the Royal Society is something I would not have dreamed possible. I am of course delighted, honoured and not a little daunted. 

I am sure that the establishment of the Royal Society Kavli Education Medal in the field of Science and Mathematics Education will enhance still further the status of these two domains in this country; and I hope that my work plays some part in furthering this goal.”

The award consists of a bronze gilt medal and a gift of £500. Professor Hoyles will give a lecture and be awarded the medal by the President of the Royal Society at an event in January 2011.