David Bodanis

Electric Universe – How Electricity Switched on the Modern World 

Winner, Aventis Prize for Science Books 2006

David Bodanis

Electric Universe is a descriptive analysis of one of the most powerful forces in our universe electricity. For centuries, electricity was viewed as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention. In Electric Universe Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthrough, from the cold waters of the Atlantic, to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm.

Judges' comments

Nick Ross, chair of the General Prize Judging Panel said: "This book is wonderfully accessible it's a huge canvas but it reads like a novel, with twists and turns that would make a fiction writer happy to have been so inventive, and opens up a universe of facts that would scarcely be credible in an imaginary tale. It's simply a very good read and if you have little or no interest in electricity, after reading this you will have."

Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

Royal Society Prize for Science Books

Aventis Prize for Science Books

See the full list of all the winners.