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The Royal Society Prize for Science Books

The Royal Society Insight Investment Prize for Science Books is the UK's most prestigious prize for science books. It is administered by the Royal Society, the venerable organisation for the advancement of the public knowledge of science originally established by King Charles II in 1660.

The Prize was set up in 1988 to encourage the writing, publishing and reading of good and accessible popular science books. Eligible titles must have been published in English for the first time in the previoius calendar year. The judging panel selects a longlist of 12 books In June and then a shortlist of six in September before announcing a winner in November. The winning author receives £25,000.

Often referred to as the 'Booker Prize of science writing', the Prize has an excellent record for recognising some of the most respected writers on science and has helped sustain sales in bookshops of a subject that has experienced notable peaks and troughs in popularity. Winners include Stephen Hawking, Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond (the only double winner), Roger Penrose, Brian Greene and Bill Bryson. The Prize has yet to be awarded to a female author.

The Prize has gone under other names previously, according to the sponsor at the time. From 1991 until 2000, it was known as the Rhône-Poulenc Prize for Science Books and then, until 2006, the Aventis Prize for Science Books, followed by the Winton Prize for Science Books and now the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

The 2016 winner was The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. The 2017 shortlist was announced on 3rd August, with the winner to follow on 19th September.

There is also a Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, aimed at fostering enthusiasm for the sciences amongst younger readers.

Click here to visit the official website.



2017 Shortlist

Beyond Infinity: An expedition to the...
Eugenia Cheng
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE Even small children know there are infinitely many whole numbers - start counting and you'll never reach...
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Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths...
Cordelia Fine
A landmark new book from Cordelia Fine, author of the hugely influential Delusions of Gender
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Other Minds: The Octopus and the...
Peter Godfrey-Smith
`Brilliant' Guardian `Fascinating and often delightful' The Times ...
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To be a Machine: Adventures Among...
Mark O'Connell
What is transhumanism? Simply put, it is a movement whose aim is to use technology to fundamentally change the human condition, to improve our bodies and minds to the...
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In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight...
Joseph Jebelli
The fascinating and very human story of the Alzheimer's epidemic that affects millions of people around the world - and the race against the clock to find a cure.
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Previous winners

2016 The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

2015 Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made by Gaia Vince

2014 Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-Made World by Professor Mark Miodownik

2013 The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll

2012 The Information by James Gleick

2011 The Wavewatcher's Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

2010 Life Ascending: The The Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane

2009 The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes

2008 Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas

2007 Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

2006 Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World by David Bodanis

2005 Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another by Philip Ball

2004 A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

2003 Right Hand, Left Hand by Chris McManus

2002 The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

2001 Mapping the Deep by Robert Kunzig

2000 The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

1999 The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman

1998 Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

1997 The Wisdom of Bones by Alan Walker & Pat Shipman (currently out of print)

1996 Plague's Progress by Arno Karlen (currently out of print)

1995 The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide by John Emsley (currently out of print)

1994 The Language of the Genes, Steve Jones

1993 The Making of Memory by Steven Rose

1992 The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

1991 Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould

1990 The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose

1989 Bones of Contention by Roger Lewin

1988 Living with Risk by The British Medical Association Board of Science (currently out of print)


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