Philip Ball

Critical Mass: How one thing leads to another

Winner, Aventis Prize for Science Books 2005

Philip Ball

This thought-provoking book by one of Britain 's leading young science writers, Philip Ball, causes us to examine our own behaviour; whether in buying the new Harry Potter book, voting for a particular party or responding to the lure of advertisers. Philip shows how much we can understand about human behaviour when we cease to try to predict and analyse the behaviour of individuals and instead look to the impact of hundreds, thousands or millions of individual human decisions.

Judges' comments

Bill Bryson, chair of the judging panel, said: "This is a wide-ranging and dazzlingly informed book about the science of interactions.  I can promise you'll be amazed."

Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society, said: "Critical Mass reflects the high calibre of writing that the Prizes have become synonymous with."

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.