The six books on the shortlist for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books are competing for a much larger cash prize this year. The shortlisted books are vying for the world's most prestigious award for popular science writing. The prize money for the winner has increased from £10,000 to £25,000, while the authors of each of the shortlisted books will receive £2,500.
The shortlist is composed of:
by Tim Birkhead, published by Bloomsbury
The judges said: "Bird Sense opens new worlds to the imagination through a wealth of passionately observed science. It succeeds in conveying a feeling of what it is like to be a bird."
The Particle at the End of the Universe
by Sean Carroll, published by OneWorld Publications
The hunt for the Higgs and the discovery of a new world
The judges said: "This book invites you to imagine the unimaginable. It tells an extraordinary tale of scientific discovery and stands out by its ability to speak to people who are not scientists."
Cells to Civilizations
by Enrico Coen, published by Princeton University Press
The judges said: "Cells to Civilizations presents an exciting challenge to our thinking on how evolution works. It is unbelievably alive and we could feel our brains growing as we read."
Pieces of Light
by Charles Fernyhough, published by Profile Books
The judges said: "Our memories of reading this book are exceptionally good ones! It challenges much of what we think we know about memory. It's a bit like reading a novel, personal and compulsive!"
The Book of Barely Imagined Beings
by Caspar Henderson, published by Granta
The judges said: "Henderson taps into forgotten wonder we first felt as children discovering the creatures of our world. It borrows its format from ancient bestiaries and its title from Borges' extraordinary tales. The book itself is a beautiful object and brings barely imagined beings to life."
Ocean of Life
by Callum Roberts, published by Allen Lane (Penguin Books)
The judges said: "Roberts sets modern conservation in context. For instance he has taken fisheries science and channelled it into the mainstream debate. This book is thrilling: a delightful mix of anecdote, research and polemic."
The winner will be announced at a public event at the Royal Society on 25th November 2013.
William Hill's odds for the shortlisted books are as follows:
3/1 Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead
7/2 The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll
4/1 Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts
5/1 Cells to Civilization by Enrico Coen
5/1 Piece of Light by Charles Fernyhough
5/1 The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson
The first chapter of each book is available to download for free at The Royal Society.