The judges selected a longlist of twelve books:
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer (Penguin)
The judges said: “A jaunty and engaging exploration of the human memory”
My Beautiful Genome by Lone Frank (Oneworld)
The judges said: “A refreshingly honest dive into the nature-nurture debate.”
The Information by James Gleick (Fourth Estate)
The judges said: “An original concept that changes your view of the world and the way information has shaped it.”
The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene (Penguin)
The judges said: “A clear and compelling account that unveils extraordinary parallel worlds and our place within them.”
The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso (Granta)
The judges said: “A moving, almost poetic insight into the world of modern medicine.”
The 4% Universe by Richard Panek (Oneworld)
The judges said: “A beautifully written account of what we’re made of – and what we’re not.”
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker (Allen Lane)
The judges said: “An important and original book expounding on mankind’s relationship with violence.”
The Address Book by Tim Radford (Fourth Estate)
The judges said: “A captivating journey through our place in the universe.”
Pricing the Future – George G Szpiro (Basic Books)
The judges said: “A surprisingly fascinating insight into the world’s financial markets.”
Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth by Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle (Texas A&M)
The judges said: “An important subject ripe for discussion in a scientifically reputable way.”
The Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers (Basic Books)
The judges said: “An original exploration of the place of self deception in the human animal.”
The Viral Storm by Nathan Wolfe (Allen Lane)
The judges said: “This book takes a potentially terrifying subject and successfully makes it both readable and optimistic.”
Professor Bell Burnell, Chair of the judges, said: “We were delighted to be able to choose such an eclectic and fascinating longlist, full of distinctive voices and unusual subjects.”
This year’s longlist includes nine authors who are new to the prize, two who have been previously shortlisted (James Gleick and Steven Pinker) and one previous winner (Brian Greene).
The shortlist will be announced on 25th September 2012. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Society on 26th November 2012 and awarded £10,000. The authors of each shortlisted book will receive £1000.
The judges on this year’s judging panel are Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS, Visiting Professor in Astrophysics, University of Oxford (Chair), Jasper Fforde, author; Tania Hershman, author, Kim Shillinglaw, BBC Commissioning Editor for Science and Natural History and Dr Samuel Turvey, Royal Society University Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology.
Commencing last year, the global investment management company Winton Capital Management agreed a five year sponsorship deal of the prize.