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Royal Society shortlists three UCL academics for science book prize

3 August 2018

Three UCL scientists turned authors have been shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2018.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Mark Miodownik and Hannah Fry

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences), has been selected her solo debut book, Inventing Ourselves, which presents cutting-edge findings on the adolescent brain and how its development ultimately shapes the adults we become.

Professor of Materials, Mark Miodownik (UCL Mechanical Engineering), has been shortlisted for his latest book Liquid, which is a compelling look at liquids using the clever vehicle of a plane journey.

Mathematician, Dr Hannah Fry (UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis), lifts the lid on the inner workings of algorithms and the dilemmas they present in the fascinating and timely Hello World.

UCL’s three nominees make up half of the six shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2018, which celebrates the best of science writing for a non-specialist audience.

The shortlisted books, chosen from over 260 submissions, were commended for their extraordinarily high standard of scientific thought, conveyed through accessible writing and engaging storytelling.

Chair of judges, Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft, Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford and author, said:

“Each of the authors successfully introduces the reader to innovative ideas and new ways of thinking, whether it is about precision engineering, the seemingly ordinary liquids that we encounter every day, or the way we view the adolescent brain. All tell fascinating stories about scientists, science and how science is done, and all address the big questions of our time. They are engrossing reads that will appeal to everyone.”

The full 2018 shortlist is (in order of author surname):

  • Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
  • The Unexpected Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke
  • The Beautiful Cure: Harnessing Your Body’s Natural Defences by Daniel M Davis
  • Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine by Hannah Fry
  • Liquid: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives by Mark Miodownik
  • Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester

The winner of the 2018 Prize will be announced at a ceremony at The Royal Society on Monday 1st October 2018 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.

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Henry Killworth

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E: h.killworth [at] ucl.ac.uk