The Royal Society in London has selected its winner of the Winton Prize for Science Books. The purpose of the prize falls right in line with the goals for Read Science! Google Hangouts; to encourage the promotion of great popular science writing! For 2014, the prize goes to Mark Miodownk for his book Stuff Matters. Congratulations!
While they had the shortlisted authors all present for the ceremony in London (you can watch that HERE, which features the authors reading excerpts in addition to the recognition) they videotaped all of them reading passages from their books. For your perusing pleasure, I have posted them all here. Enjoy.
First, let's begin with the winner:
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
The judges said: “This brilliantly written book is a fresh take on material science that makes even the most everyday stuff exciting and interesting. It demonstrates just how creative and ingenious the human mind can be in its ability to incorporate them into our lives.”
The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson
The judges said: “A wonderful and yet very sad book. It weaves together an immense amount of detail on this devastating disease with a very personal and touching story.”
Seven Elements that Changed the World: An Adventure of Ingenuity and Discovery by John Browne
The judges said: “Browne is clearly a man who has dedicated his life to the elements. This is an inspiring tale of our relationship with these seven very special elements that interweaves the culture, science and history masterfully.”
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
The judges said: “Roach is such an entertaining writer who uses humour and wit to make the mundane intriguing and the unmentionable acceptable. She ventures where few would go, for example, Elvis Presley’s poop!”
Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler by Philip Ball
In 'Serving the Reich', science writer Philip Ball examines physics under Hitler and the lives of three physicists caught between science and politics— Nobel Laureates Max Planck, Peter Debye and Werner Heisenberg.
The judges said: “An authoritative account of the complex science and politics of a much disputed period in history. This book shows how scientists can never divorce themselves completely from the world around them.”
The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity by Pedro G. Ferreira
The judges said: “A treasure trove of information about the theory of relativity and all its ramifications, carried along by stories of personal struggle that highlight how scientists are only human too.”