Christmas reading

Christmas isn’t far away. Perhaps some of you are already thinking of presents for the scientifically minded in your family. You could do a lot worse that gifting one of the books on the shortlist for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.

The list is now public – see Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. And if you must wait to see which one wins the prize then the judges will announce this at a public event on 24 September 2015, hosted by Professor Brian Cox OBE, Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science.

The books on the shortlist are below, together with the judges comments and a link to discover more about the book. There is also a link to the first chapter of each book for those careful buyers who would like to read a bit before deciding on that gift.


Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought by David Adam

The judges said: “An amazingly gripping and informative look inside someone’s head, told with a depth of knowledge and genius turn of phrase that only an expert and gifted writer could wield.”

Download the first chapter of this book (PDF).


Alex Through the Looking-glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life  by Alex Belos

The judges said: “Bellos fizzes with enthusiasm, and his genuine love for the subject shines through and makes mathematics engaging and non-threatening even for math-phobes.”

Download the first chapter of this book (PDF).


Smashing Physics by Butterworth, Jon (2015) Paperback by Jon Butterworth

The judges said: “With his unique insider perspective, Butterworth has humanized a classic science story that we all thought we knew. His writing is so engaging that he makes some of the most advanced science around seem within our grasp.”

Download the first chapter of this book (PDF).


Life’s Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cob

The judges said: “A brilliantly written account of one of the most important scientific discoveries of the century, with a fresh perspective that also dispels the myths popularised by previous reports.”

Download the first chapter of this book (PDF).


Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe Mcfadden and Professor Jim Al-Khalili

The judges said: “A topic that could have been incomprehensible to the average reader becomes unexpectedly enthralling in the hands of these skilled communicators. A controversial work that deserves its already wide audience.”

Download the first chapter of this book (PDF).


Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made by Gaia Vince

The judges said: “Vince’s passion and strong voice grabs you instantly and the story she tells is truly original. A finely-crafted book on an important, urgent topic.”

Download the first chapter of this book (PDF).


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