UCL’s Nick Lane wins the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books

22 October 2010

Nick Lane

Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment) has won the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books.

In his book Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution (published by Profile, 2009), Dr Lane charts the history of life on Earth by describing the ten greatest inventions of life, based on their historical impact, their importance in living organisms and their iconic power. 

Maggie Philbin, chair of the judging panel and former presenter of the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, said: “Life Ascending is a beautifully written and elegantly structured book that was a favourite with all of the judges. Nick Lane hasn’t been afraid to challenge us with some tough science, explaining it in such a way that we feel like scientists ourselves, unfolding the mysteries of life.”

Dr Lane said: “I’ve been following the prize since its inception and I know it’s the highlight of the year for many scientists. The prize stands for getting the best science to the widest audience possible and I hope that it attracts funding next year and continues for as long as possible.”

Thanks to Dr Lane's award, UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment is the only department in the world to house two winners of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books; Professor Steve Jones carried off the award in 1994 for The Language of the Genes.


Click on the player below to watch Nick Lane on the origins of complex life

UCL context

Dr Lane holds the first Provost’s Venture Research Fellowship in UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment, and is a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research. His research is on the role of bioenergetics in the origin and evolution of complex life. 

Dr Lane’s first book, Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World, was selected as one of the Sunday Times Books of the Year for 2002. His second book, Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, was selected as one of The Economist’s Books of the Year for 2005, and shortlisted for the 2006 Royal Society Aventis Science Book Prize and the Times Higher Young Academic Author of the Year Award.

Image: Dr Nick Lane at the 2010 Royal Society Book Awards


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