Our own Official Website Physicist™, Sean Carroll, has nabbed the prestigious Royal Society Winton Book Prize for 2013. It’s for popular science writing, and his winning volume, which I’ve recommended here, is The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World.
This is no small prize—or emolument: the award comes with a £25,000 check. To add to the encomiums, the judges’ decision was unanimous. According to the BBC News:
His work beat five other titles that ranged across topics that broadly focussed on life in its many forms and its internal workings.
But the judges were unanimous in their decision to give Dr Carroll the prize.
Prof Uta Frith, from University College London and chair of the judges, said of the winning book: “It is an exceptional example of the genre and a real rock star of a book. Though it’s a topic that has been tackled many times before.
“Carroll writes with an energy that propels readers along and fills them with his own passion. He understands their minds and anticipates their questions. There’s no doubt that this is an important, enduring piece of literature.”
The prize was announced at the society’s central London headquarters.
Dr Carroll said it was “completely unexpected”.
“It was a great thrill. I honestly thought of the six people in this room, anyone could have won.
“I was the only physicist, the only American. All the books are really interesting.
. . .Dr Emily Flashman, from the University of Oxford and another member of the judging panel, said that the Higgs boson book stood out from the very beginning “as an outstanding piece of science writing”.
“It takes a difficult subject, makes it interesting, accessible and exciting. It tells the whole story of the experiment to find the Higgs boson.
“It’s clearly a populist choice but it stood out on its own merit,” she told the BBC.
It’s worth mentioning the other four contenders, though I haven’t read these (if you have, weigh in below):
Bird sense by Tim Birkhead
The particle at the end of the universe by Sean Carroll
Cells to civilizations by Enrico Coen
Pieces of light by Charles Fernyhough
The book of barely imagined beings by Caspar Henderson
Ocean of life by Callum Roberts
Kudos to Sean; I’ve read several book on the Higgs, and this is the best for a general audience.