Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Royal Society Junior Prize for Science Books

TopGear presenter uses ‘the Force’ to scoop kids’ science book of year

Bringing his trademark action-packed approach to physics has won Richard Hammond, presenter of TopGear and Brainiac, this year’s Royal Society Junior Prize for Science Books it was announced today (Tuesday 15 May, 2007).

Can you feel the force? uses physics to answer questions such as, ‘can you lie on a bed of nails?, ‘what’s inside an atom?’ and ‘can you walk on custard?’. It also provides an accessible and entertaining introduction to some of the great scientists, such as Newton and Galileo, and outlines simple experiments to try at home.

The book was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six by junior judging panels made up of almost 1000 young people from 100 school and youth groups from across the UK.

Richard Hammond said: "I was immediately captivated when the team at Dorling Kindersley(DK) approached me about making a book to try and bring physics to life. Perhaps all children need is the confidence to approach a subject with enthusiasm and an open mind. The DK team gave them just that and winning this award is recognition for a group of very talented people."

Commenting on Can you feel the Force?, Anna aged 13 and one of the Junior Judges(2) said: “It was good because it had unusual facts that you wouldn’t know from science lessons.”

Andrew aged 11 said: “The illustrations were good but my favourite bit was the way of walking on custard.”

Adele aged 11 said: “I didn’t vote for it just because Richard Hammond wrote it, it truly was the best.”

Eleanor Updale, chair of the junior judging panels said: “This instantly appealing book traces the roots of physics to the dawn of civilization, but concentrates on the way physical forces are at work in all our lives today. With clear illustrations, practical experiments, and well-paced text, it makes an interest in science look like fun – and above all, normal.”

Dorling Kindersley has now won the junior award eight times – more than any other publisher. What Makes Me, Me? by Robert Winston, which is part of the same series as Can you feel the force?, won the prize in 2005.

The other books short listed for this year’s Junior prize are:
How nearly everything was invented by the brainwaves devised and illustrated by Ralph and Lisa Lazar, and written by Jilly MacLeod.
It’s true! Space turns you into spaghetti by Heather Catchpole and Vanessa Woods (Allen and Unwin)
KFK Natural Disasters by Andrew Langley (Kingfisher Knowledge)
My Body Book by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Franklin Watts)
Science Investigations: Electricity by John Farndon (Wayland)

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert won this year’s Royal Society General Prize for Science Books.

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