The Royal Society Science Book Prize shortlist for 2019 has been revealed with nominations for indies Icon, Bloomsbury and Atlantic.
Celebrating the very best in popular science writing from around the world for a non-specialist audience, this year’s six shortlisted books, chosen from over 170 submissions, ask readers to rethink the way they view both themselves and the world around them, whilst their wide-ranging subject matter reflects the sheer breadth of science writing published today.
Physicist John Gribbin returns to the shortlist with Six Impossible Things: The ‘Quanta of Solace’ and the Mysteries of the Subatomic World (Icon Books) while Clearing the Air: The Beginning and the End of Air Pollution by debut author Tim Smedley (Bloomsbury Sigma) and Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus – The Language of the Universe by mathematician Steven Strogatz (Atlantic Books) also made the cut.
Penguin Random House has titles from two imprints on the list with Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by broadcaster and campaigner Caroline Criado Perez (Chatto & Windus) and The Remarkable Life of the Skin: An Intimate Journey Across Our Surface by debut author Monty Lyman (Bantam Press).
The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter by physicist Paul Steinhardt (Simon & Schuster) makes up the shortlist.
Chair of this year’s judging panel, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, principal and professorial research fellow in computer science at Jesus College, University of Oxford, said: “This year’s shortlist is a great collection of popular science writing. Each book on the list presents an area of science that is fascinating, enthralling and important: from the mysteries of the quantum universe to the air we breathe, from the way that data encodes bias to the skin that is our largest organ, from the infinite power of calculus to new kinds of matter, our shortlist will appeal to all.
“Within these titles we encounter triumph and tragedy, hope and despair, enlightenment and enduring mysteries. The writers share great stories, rooted in outstanding research. They open up our understanding of the world in which we live and remind us of the important discoveries taking place around us every day.”
The winner of the 2019 Prize, sponsored by Insight Investment will be announced at an awards ceremony at The Royal Society on Monday 23rd September 2019, hosted by Professor Brian Cox OBE FRS, The Royal Society’s professor for public engagement in science. The winner will receive a cheque for £25,000, with £2,500 awarded to each of the five shortlisted authors.