Royal Society Prizes for Science Books

Royal Society Prizes for Science Books

The Royal Society Prizes for Science Books is an annual award for the previous year's best general science writing and best science writing for children. The nominees and winners are decided by the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science. It is generally considered to be the most prestigious science writing award, and is sometimes referred to as the "Booker Prize" of science writing [ [ Happiness wins science book prize] BBC News, 15 May 2007] .

The prizes were established in 1988 and were known as the Science Book Prizes until 1990 when they were sponsored by Rhône-Poulenc and became known as the Rhône-Poulenc Prizes for Science Books. Between 2000 and 2006, following the merger of Rhône-Poulenc with Hoechst AG to form Aventis, the prizes were renamed the Aventis Prizes for Science Books. Since 2007 the prizes have been owned and managed by the Royal Society. [ [ History of the science book prizes] , The Royal Society]

Judging Process

Entries are open to any book published in English in the preceding calendar year, that can be purchased in the UK. Two judging panels, one for the General Prize (for best general science writing) and one for the Junior Prize (for best science writing for young people up to the age of 14) assess the entries and select a longlist of around 12 books and then a shortlist of six books. The General Prize panel then select the winner. The winner of the Junior Prize is selected by panels of school-age children (a total of 800 in 75 groups for the 2005 Prizes). The winner in each category receives £10,000. £1000 per book is awarded to the authors of the remaining shortlisted books.

General Prize

This category is awarded to the best science writing for a non-specialist audience.

2008 Prizes

The winner of the 2008 Royal Society Prizes for Science Books "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet" by Mark Lynas.

The other nominees were:
*"Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise" by Steve Jones
*"Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious " by Gerd Gigerenzer
*"A Life Decoded: My Genome - My Life" by J. Craig Venter
*"The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began" by Stuart Clark
*"Why Beauty is Truth: The History of Symmetry" by Ian Stewart

2007 Prizes

The winner of the 2007 Royal Society Prizes for Science Books "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert.

The other nominees were:
*"Homo Britannicus" by Chris Stringer
*"In Search of Memory" by Eric R. Kandel
*"Lonesome George" by Henry Nicholls
*"One in Three" by Adam Wishart
*"The Rough Guide to Climate Change" by Robert Henson

2006 Prizes

The winner of the 2006 Aventis Prizes for Science Book Prize was announced on 16 May 2006.
* "Electric Universe - How Electricity Switched on the Modern World", by David Bodanis The other nominees were:

* "Power, Sex, Suicide - Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life", by Nick Lane
* "Empire of the Stars - Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes", by Arthur I Miller
* "Parallel Worlds - The Science of Alternative Universes and our Future in the Cosmos", by Michio Kaku
* "Collapse - How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed", by Jared Diamond
* "The Truth About Hormones - What's Going on when We're Tetchy, Spotty, Fearful, Tearful or Just Plain Awful", by Vivienne Parry

It was Jared Diamond's third nomination for the prize, having won twice previously.The 2006 prize was the last one to be sponsored by the Aventis Foundation - the Royal Society are currently looking for a new sponsor.

2005 Winner

The Aventis Prizes for Science Book winner was announced on May 12, 2005:

* "Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another", by Philip Ball ISBN 0-374-28125-4

The other nominees for 2005 were:

* "The Ancestor's Tale", by Richard Dawkins
* "Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older", by Douwe Draaisma
* "Matters Of Substance: Drugs - And Why Everyone's A User", by Griffith Edwards
* "The Earth: An Intimate History", by Richard Fortey
* "The Human Mind", by Robert Winston

2004 Winner

The Aventis Prizes for Science Book winner was announced on June 14 2004:

* "A Short History of Nearly Everything", Bill Bryson

The other nominees for 2004 were:

* "In The Beginning Was the Worm", Andrew Brown
* "Magic Universe", Nigel Calder
* "Mutants", Armand Marie Leroi
* "Nature Via Nurture", Matt Ridley
* "Backroom Boys", Francis Spufford

2003 Winner

* "Right Hand, Left Hand", Chris McManus

Other nominees:

* "Small World", Mark Buchanan
* "Reckoning With Risk", Gerd Gigerenzer
* "The Extravagant Universe", Robert P. Kirshner
* "The Blank Slate", Steven Pinker
* "Where Is Everybody?", Stephen Webb

2002 Winner

* "The Universe in a Nutshell", Stephen Hawking

Other nominees:

* "", Martin Gorst
* "The Secret Life of Dust", Hannah Holmes
* "", David Horrobin
* "A Primate's Memoir", Robert M. Sapolsky
* "Rivals", Michael White

2001 Winner

* "Mapping the Deep", Robert Kunzig

Other nominees:

* "", Steve Grand
* "Strange Beauty", George Johnson
* "Mendel's Demon", Mark Ridley
* "Mendeleyev's Dream", Paul Strathern
* "Malignant Sadness", Lewis Wolpert

2000 Winner

* "", Brian Greene

Other nominees:

* "The White Death", Thomas Dormandy
* "A Brief History of the Future", John Naughton
* "Genome", Matt Ridley
* "Time, Love, Memory", Jonathan Weiner
* "Children of Prometheus", Christopher Wills

Pre-2000 Winners

* (1999) "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers", Paul Hoffman
* (1998) "Guns, Germs and Steel", Jared Diamond
* (1997) "The Wisdom of Bones", Alan Walker and Pat Shipman
* (1996) "Plague’s Progress", Arno Karlen
* (1995) "The Consumer’s Good Chemical Guide", John Emsley
* (1994) "The Language of the Genes", Steve Jones
* (1993) "The Making of Memory", Steven Rose
* (1992) "The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee", Jared Diamond
* (1991) "Wonderful Life", Stephen Jay Gould
* (1990) "The Emperor's New Mind", Roger Penrose
* (1989) "Bones of Contention", Roger Lewin
* (1988) "Living with Risk", British Medical Association Board of Science

Junior Prize

This category is awarded to the best science writing for children.

2008 winner

* "Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do" by Rebecca Gilpin & Leonie Pratt

The other nominees were:

* "Why Is Snot Green?: Science Museum Question and Answer Book" by Glenn Murphy
* "Ask Dr K. Fisher About Animals" by Claire Llewellyn & Kate Sheppard
* "How the Incredible Human Body Works by the Brainwaves" Richard Walker, Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar
* "It's Elementary!: Putting the Crackle into Chemistry" by Robert Winston
* "Serious Survival: How to Poo in the Arctic and Other Essential Tips" by Marshall Corwin & Bruce Parry

2007 winner

*"Can you feel the force?" by Richard Hammond

The other nominees were:

* "How Nearly Everything Was Invented by The Brainwaves" devised and illustrated by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar, written by Jilly MacLeod
* "It's True! Space Turns You Into Spaghetti" by Heather Catchpole and Vanessa Woods
* "KFK Natural Disasters" by Andrew Langley
* "My Body Book" by Mick Manning and Brita Granström
* "Science Investigations - Electricity" by John Farndon

2006 Winner

* "The Global Garden" by Kate Petty, Jennie Maizels, Corina Fletcher

The other nominees were:

* "100 Science Experiments" by Georgina Andrews and Kate Knighton
* "Think of a Number" by Johnny Ball
* "It's True! Squids Suck" by Nicki Greenberg
* "Blame My Brain" by Nicola Morgan
* "Kingfisher Knowledge: Forensics" by Richard Platt

2005 Winner

* "What Makes Me, Me?", by Robert Winston

Other nominees for the Junior Prize:

* "Kingfisher Knowledge: Endangered Planet", by David Burnie
* "Mysteries And Marvels Of Science", by Phillip Clarke, Laura Howell, and Sarah Khan
* "Leap Through Time: Earthquake", by Nicholas Harris
* "Night Sky Atlas", by Robin Scagell
* "Kingfisher Knowledge: Microscopic Life", by Richard Walker

2004 Winner

* "Horrible Science: Really Rotten Experiments", Nick Arnold and Tony de Saulles

Other nominees:

* "", Peter Ackroyd
* "Riotous Robots", Mike Goldsmith
* "", Sally Hewitt
* "", Clare Oliver
* "", Peter Riley

2003 Winner

* "DK Guide to the Oceans", Frances Dipper

Other nominees:

* "Horrible Science: The Terrible Truth About Time", Nick Arnold
* "Get in Gear", Sholly Fisch
* "", Nicholas Harris
* "Why Can't I..? Series", Sally Hewitt
* "The Way Science Works", Robin Kerrod & Sharon Ann Holgate

2002 Winner

* "DK Guide to the Human Body", Richard Walker

Other nominees:

* "Life Finds its Feet", Jacqui Bailey
* "The Kingfisher Illustrated Dinosaur Encyclopedia", David Burnie
* "", Mike Goldsmith
* "", Christopher Maynard
* "", Alastair Smith, Phillip Clarke & Corinne Henderson

2001 Winner

* "DK Guide to Weather", Michael Allaby

Other nominees:

* "Horrible Science Series: Suffering Scientists", Nick Arnold
* "The Complete Book of the Brain", John Farndon
* "DK Guide to Dinosaurs", David Lambert
* "The At Home with Science Series", Janice Lobb & Peter Utton
* "", Brian Ward

2000 Winner

* "DK Guide to Space", Peter Bond

Other nominees:

* "Evolve or Die", Phil Gates
* "The History News", Michael Johnstone
* "The Kingfisher Book of Planet Earth", Martin Redfern
* "Brainwaves in the Bedroom", Richard Robinson
* "Usborne First Encyclopedia of our World", Felicity Brooks and Susannah Owen

Pre-2000 Winners

* (1999) "The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope", Kirsteen Rogers
* (1998) "The Kingfisher Book of Oceans", David Lambert
* (1997) "Horrible Science Series: Blood Bones and Body Bits and Ugly Bugs", Nick Arnold
* (1996) "The World of Weather", Chris Maynard
* (1995) "The Most Amazing Pop-Up Science Book", Jay Young
* (1994)
** "", Linda Gamlin
** "Science with Weather", Rebecca Heddle and Paul Shipton
** "The Ultimate Dinosaur Book", David Lambert
* (1993) "Mighty Microbes", Thompson Yardley
* (1992) "The Amazing Voyage of the Cucumber Sandwich", Peter Rowan
* (1991) "Cells Are Us and Cell Wars", Fran Balkwill and Mic Rolph
* (1990)
** (under-14) "", Susan Mayes
** (under-8) "The Giant Book of Space", Ian Ridpath
* (1989) "The Way Things Work", David Macaulay and Neil Ardley
* (1988) "Science Alive – Living Things", Roger Kerrod


External links

* [ Royal Society's Official WWW page]
* [ Official website]
* [ Most honored books of the Aventis Prize shortlists]
* [ Royal Society Prize at lovethebook]

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