Scientist and broadcaster Professor Mark Miodownik has won the £25,000 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books with Stuff Matters (Viking).
Miodownik was announced as the winner at a ceremony held at the Royal Society last night (10th November), hosted by anatomist and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts.
Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World is a broad look at the different materials people interact with every day, exploring their uses and properties from a molecular level to a social one. Miodownik, a materials scientist at University College London, has presented "Size Matters" on BBC Four and the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture. He was given the trophy ("acrylic – there's a whole other book in that", he said) by president of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse and David Harding, founder of the sponsor, Winton Capital Management.
The judging panel, made up of Professor Nicola Clayton, Dr Nathalie Vriend, TV producer Emma Read, writer Michael Frayn and journalist Lone Frank, picked the winner unanimously. Clayton said: "Mark Miodownik’s Stuff Matters stood out from the start of the judging process and the decision to name it winner was a unanimous one. This book is very special - it leaves you with a feeling of being intellectually curious and inspired by everything around you and by all the marvellous feats that our species has accomplished. It’s a very personal and engaging story. Reading Stuff Matters, you can’t help but be enthralled by things you didn’t even know you were interested in to begin with."
The other titles on the shortlist were Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physic under Hitler by Philip Ball (The Bodley Head); Seven Elements That Have Changed the World: Iron, Carbon, Gold, Silver, Uranium, Titanium, Silicon by John Browne (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity by Pedro G Ferreira (Little, Brown); The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson (The Bodley Head); and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (Oneworld).
Each of the shortlisted authors receives £25,000, and took part in a group discussion and gave readings at the public ceremony.