Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, presented the £10,000 prize to Gavin Pretor-Pinney at an award ceremony held at the Royal Society on Thursday. The Wavewatcher’s Companion triumphed over other strong contenders in the shortlist, including Guy Deutscher’s Through the Language Glass and Alex Bellos’s Alex’s Adventures in Numberland to win the prestigious award for science writing. I provided details of the six books on the short list in my September post Some recent recommended science books.
The first chapter of each shortlisted book is available to download for free at: royalsociety.org/awards/science-books/.
The full title of the winning book is “The Wave Watcher’s Companion: From Ocean Waves to Light Waves via Shock Waves, Stadium Waves, and All the Rest of Life’s Undulations.” So clearly it’s about more that sea waves. As one reviewer, Brad Moon at Geekdad, puts it:
“Pretor-Pinney points out that waves are everywhere and draws upon hundreds of examples throughout the course of the book’s 336 pages, from animal locomotion to music, SONAR, fishing, the Big Bang, X-rays, radio waves, Wi-Fi, surfing, sand dunes, traffic flow, tides, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (and traumatic brain injuries caused by explosive shock waves), thunder and lightning, supersonic flight, earthquakes, Bee shimmering (described as ’the most impressive mooning in the natural world’), bird flocking and countless others. By making numerous historical references and tying everything together with modern examples (like crowds doing ’The Wave’ in a stadium), and phenomena from the natural world, The Wave Watcher’s Companion sucks the reader in to a lengthy exploration of what sounds on the surface to be a potentially boring and very short subject.”
Thanks to: Cloudspotter makes waves at Royal Society