Thursday, 4 August 2016

Royal Society science books

Today sees the release of the shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book prize for 2016, for which I was one of the judges. The shortlisted titles are:

The Most Perfect Thing by Tim Birkhead (Bloomsbury)
The Hunt for Vulcan by Thomas Levenson (Head of Zeus)
Cure by Jo Marchant (Canongate)
The Planet Remade by Oliver Morton (Granta)
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Bodley Head)
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (John Murray)

It was a pleasure - and a considerable challenge - to whittle the initial set of books down to these six excellent volumes. Without patting ourselves on the back too much, I think the judging panel (under the able guidance of Bill Bryson) managed to come up with a healthy selection of topics, ranging from the history of science to the most cutting-edge developments in genetics. While we had to let go of many rather wonderful titles - and each of us championed individual books that did not necessarily find favour with the other judges - we nonetheless arrived at a very encouraging consensus pretty early on in the discussion. That said, the hard work is still ahead of us, in that we have to select a winner from these six - it won't be easy.

The Guardian has a short article about the selection:

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