And the Winners Are ... Award-Winning Science Books of 2008

By Jones, D. Yvonne | Journal of College Science Teaching, July-August 2009 | Go to article overview

And the Winners Are ... Award-Winning Science Books of 2008


Jones, D. Yvonne, Journal of College Science Teaching


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Most people are probably familiar with major literary awards such as the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, Booker Prizes, and the Caldecott and Newbery awards for children's literature. Unfortunately, few of the books that are even considered for these awards are about science topics. Most of the awards focus on fiction, biography, or history. Even when a general non-fiction category is available, science writers are rarely recognized.

There are several prestigious and valuable awards entirely focused on science writing, however. This short review highlights the most recent winners of the major English language awards for outstanding science writing directed toward a public audience. As noted in JCST recently (Shibley et al. 2008), popular science writing "can help transform a classroom into a more learner-centered environment." Keeping up with award-winning science writing is one way to compile a list of possible titles for the classroom. As you'll see, these books are a very eclectic group and range widely in topics: from climate change and physics biography to evolution and complex considerations of consciousness.

I hope you will find a book to enjoy, recommend, and possibly use in a future class from this group of award-winners.

Royal Society Prizes for Science Books

The Royal Society, UK's National Academy of Science, awards two prizes annually, the best popular science book aimed at adult readers (General Prize) and the best children's science book (Junior Prize). The prizes have been awarded since 1988 and are considered the most prestigious of the awards given for science writing. Information about the prizes, past winners, and an intriguing list of scientists' and authors' favorite science books is provided at http://royalsociety.org/ sciencebooks.

General Prize Winner

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. Mark Lynas. 2006. Fourth Estate. Originally published in the UK in 2006, Six Degrees was published in the United States in 2008 by National Geographic Press. Six Degrees is a very entertaining and disturbing disaster story, set in the future, with six different possible endings. The title comes from the IPCC Assessment Report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007) anticipating up to six degrees Celsius of global warming. Lynas takes current research on climate change and divides up the possible scenarios, giving a chapter to changes that can be expected with each increasing degree of increase in average temperature. He grabs the reader's attention at the very beginning with his discussion of Hurricane Katrina and what he consider s "the first climate refugees." One could argue that human history and prehistory records of migration suggest that Katrina was hardly the "first" climate event to cause displacement. However, it makes a great hook to draw in the reader.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Well documented, with 40 pages of notes from recent articles and reports in major science journals, this book of possible futures for the Earth is fascinating reading. Lynas explains the apparent contradiction that a degree increase in average temperature translates not only into expected higher temperatures and rainfall, but in other areas can bring cooler climates and drought, with concomitant problems. Famine due to drought in major agricultural areas is highlighted. Lynas gives the expected obligatory cautioning that we all have a role in deciding the actual ending. The final chapter, "Choosing Our Future," is not, however, a political diatribe. It is a very balanced discussion with a good summary table of carbon dioxide targets, possible government actions, and how these correlate with predicted temperature rise. There is enough substance in this final chapter to drive many classroom discussions on policy. While Lynas clearly urges us to fight against the continuation of current practices, he also gives a reasoned presentation about how various changes might or might not actually benefit the Earth.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

And the Winners Are ... Award-Winning Science Books of 2008
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.