Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A (Very) Short History wins Science Book Prize

I am beyond thrilled to announce that A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth has won the 2022 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. You can see the entire ceremony here: 


The judges said (among other nice things):

This is a book that the judges found truly immense in scale, a tour de force covering a huge amount of science in an entertaining tone with a remarkable thriller-like element in the repeated extinction and rebirth of life on earth. They were left in awe of the staggering scientific discoveries rendered in vivid detail with astonishing descriptions of dinosaurs and other ancient life forms, demonstrating the wonders that we can find through science and the tremendously broad perspective that evolutionary history lends. As a reading experience, they found it to be humbling, miraculous, and ultimately profoundly moving – reminding us that, as Gee writes in the book’s epilogue, humanity’s legacy “will leave no more than a layer, millimetres thick, in some future sedimentary rock”. 
Professor Maria Fitzgerald, Chair of the judges, said:

This is history like you have never read before. Henry Gee takes us on a whirlwind journey through 4.6 billion years through the birth of the planet Earth, the emergence of life and the evolution of man, a species that is not only aware of itself but also of what will happen next.   As Gee races through millennia, momentous physical and biological changes are described with immense skill and dynamism combined with almost poetic imagery. The last chapter, ‘The Past of the Future’, reminds us of our relative insignificance and that each species facing extinction does so in its own way. But ‘do not despair’, he urges us: ‘The Earth abides, and life is living yet'.

After the announcement I did several interviews and you can find these on the Events and Media page.