Friday, November 16, 2012

Robert Winston wins the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2012

Robert Winston’s Science Experiments scoops books prize

Robert Winston’s Science Experiments, a book packed with fun, exciting and often explosive experiments young people can do at home, has won the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2012. 

The book, Science Experiments by Robert Winston and Ian Graham and published by Dorling Kindersley, was chosen from a shortlist of six by over 1000 young people from 120 schools and youth groups around the UK:

The 1st Strathpeffer Brownies said: “This book was inspirational - the best science book we've seen. It is eye catching, filled with great pictures and vivid colours. This book caused a storm at our meeting - loads of excited chatter, interesting facts and a real eagerness to get experimenting.”

The panel from Queen Victoria School Dunblane said: “It was like a Recipe book for Science with loads on the menu!”

Aria (8) from Kew Green Preparatory School said: “Wow, I never knew you could get electricity from lemons.”

The shortlist from which the young people chose a winner was selected by an expert adult judging panel, made up of Professor Andrea Brand FMedSci FRS (Chair), Inventor-in-residence at the Science Museum Mark Champkins, BBC science presenter Greg Foot, science teacher Dr Anna Parrish and Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow Dr Angela Taylor.  When selecting the book, they said:

“This brilliant book contains clear instructions for loads of great experiments, from things that you can try yourself (without getting in trouble from your parents), to spectacular tricks to try with adults present.  Lots of books on experiments cover the same old ground, but this book goes way beyond the usual content and contains plenty of experiments that we’d never seen before.”

The prize was awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London on the evening of Thursday 15thNovember. The book wins an award of £10,000 and the shortlisted books each receive £1000.

This is the second time that Professor Robert Winston has won the prize (having previously succeeded in 2005 with What Makes Me Me?).  Upon accepting the prize, Professor Winston said:
“It is fantastic that this prize has been won by Science Experiments.  But I really want to congratulate the Royal Society on holding the prize, particularly for young people, because it seems to me that it is ever more important that we communicate science to everybody in society.  So this prize - and prize money - will go towards the Reach Out Lab at Imperial College, where we bring children of all ages into the college and they do science experiments with a background of maths to improve science literacy.”

Awarding the prize, Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:
“The childhoods of many great scientists in history are littered with experiments in kitchens, backgardens, parks and beaches.  These explorations of the world allowed countless extraordinary minds to discover the joy and excitement of science and, occasionally, to make a mess.  This year’s winner, Robert Winston’sScience Experiments, is a brilliant book that can help many young people to reach this febrile ground where our future Nobel prize-winners may develop.  I am also delighted that Professor Winston has chosen to donate the prize to Reach Out Labs, which will help more young people to experience the real, exciting world of scientific research.”

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize did not take place in 2009 - 2010 due to funding issues but from 2011 the Prize is offered thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.

More information about the prize can be found at:

For further information contact:
Alice Henchley
Press and Public Relations
The Royal Society, London
Tel: 020 7451 2514


1.      Book synopses and jacket cover images plus author and judge biographies and photographs are available on request from the Royal Society press office.

2.      The Royal Society is the UK’s national academy of science.  Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. Our expertise is embodied in the Fellowship, which is made up of the finest scientists from the UK and beyond.  
For further information on the Royal Society please visit Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at or on Facebook at

3.      The judges on the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize panel this year who selected the six shortlisted books are:
o       Professor Andrea Brand FMedSci FRS (Chair) is Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Biology and a member of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.  Her research looks into the development of the nervous system.
o       Mark Champkins is the Inventor-in-residence at the Science Museum in London. He appeared onDragon’s Den in 2007, receiving investment from Peter Jones.
o       Greg Foot is a BBC science presenter, most recently seen on BBC3 giving away The Secrets of Everything.
o       Dr Anna Parrish is a science teacher at Coloma Convent Girls School in Croydon.
o       Dr Angela Taylor  is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow and Research Fellow at St Peter's College, University of Oxford.  Her research is currently exploring remnants of the Big Bang in space.

4.      The shortlist for this year’s prize was made up of::
o       How the Weather Works, by Christiane Dorion, illustrated by Beverley Young (Templar Publishing)
o       Out of this world: All the cool bits about space, by Clive Gifford (Buster Books)
o       Plagues, pox and pestilence, by Richard Platt, illustrated by John Kelly (Kingfisher)
o       Science Experiments, by Robert Winston and Ian Graham (Dorling Kindersley)
o       See Inside Inventions: An Usborne Flap Book, by Alex Frith, illustrated by Colin King (Usborne)
o       The Magic of Reality, by Richard Dawkins, illustrated by Dave McKean (Bantam Press)

Alice Henchley
Deputy Head of Media Relations

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