Bill Richardson (2020 – Special Recognition Award)

At the SMC Conference in March, Bill Richardson was presented with an engraved glass plaque to mark his 20 years in the role of National Organizer of the Mathematical Challenge, the ever-popular, problem-solving competition that is one of the cornerstones of the SMC’s activities.

Upon graduating from the University of Manchester, Bill began his teaching career at William Hulme’s Grammar School but his teaching career in England was cut short by the prospect of moving to Elgin Academy as Principal Teacher. It was a position he would hold for 27 years before retiring. For part of that time Bill also served as the Scottish Examination Board’s Principal Examiner for CSYS and subsequently Advanced Higher. He was elected to the SMC for his first 6-year stint in 1989, with a spell as Editor of the Council’s Journal.

In the mid-1990s, Bill’s attention turned to the work of The Mathematical Association, headquartered in Leicester. He has given continuous service to the Association ever since and is currently its Company Secretary and Editor-in-Chief, with responsibility for no fewer than six journals. Over the period, and quite uniquely, not only has he been the President but he has held all three executive offices of Chair of Council, Secretary and Treasurer.

Bill Richardson and his MBE

Bill Richardson with his MBE in 1998.

By the time Bill returned to the Scottish Mathematical Council in 2000, his impact on the continuing professional development of mathematics teachers, north and south of the border, had been formally recognised with the award of an MBE in 1998. At the time, Adam McBride quipped that, in Bill’s case, MBE stands for ‘Mathematician with Boundless Energy’. Bill received his SMC Special Achievement Award from Carol Lyon to the acclaim of the 300 teachers in the auditorium. It was the first time such an award has been made by the Council. Touched by the warmth of his reception, Bill was simply lost for words.