11 June 1998

1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize Winners

Watch out for our new books section which should be open soon, but to get you started here's a summary of the best science books of the year. The Science à GoGo book pages will expand to act as your royal taster. We'll even go so far as to digest whole publications from time to time, to save you the heartburn. From hard science to your old man's Christmas present, we're bothering publishers for their new masterpieces, and the odd quirky tome to tickle your fancy.

(For an easy purchase and more information on the title, click on any of the titles to be transported to Amazon.com.)

The results for the Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize for 1988, announced at the Science Museum in London on June 9th, GoGo like this:

The Winner

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (Jonathan Cape)
Calling on archaeology, linguistics, genetics, ecology and the kitchen sink, Diamond clearly explains how environmental factors affecting food supply leading to surplus caused major differences between peoples, not biology - we are what we ate!

Shortlisted titles

The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch (Allen Lane)
No-one really understands quantum theory, but hey, you don't really need to - every experiment exists in a different parallel universe, so all results are equally correct. QED.

Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh (Fourth Estate)
Odds-on favourite but didn't quite make it... mathematics has never seemed so appealing to our innumerate hacks. And it gives away the answers too!

Twins by Lawrence Wright (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
The staple of the 'nature or nurture' debate, double has meant trouble for the kids substituting for rats in evil scientists' cages.

Life: An Unauthorised Biography by Richard Fortey (HarperCollins)
From primordial soup through the aeons to the smorgasbord of twentieth century living, Life is given a fair hearing.

This is Biology by Ernst Mayr (Belnap/Harvard)
And he should know, being an authority... touching on ethics and evolution, not just blood and guts.