The Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2018 Winner:
Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain
by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

It is with great pleasure that we confirm Inventing Ourselves, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s revolutionary study into the teenage brain, as the winner of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2018. Founded in 1988 - and described as the “Booker Prize of Science Writing” – the award celebrates outstanding popular science books from around the world and is open to authors writing for a non-specialist audience.

 

"Both an entertaining memoir and a scientific study of how the adolescent brain develops – of how we become ourselves. This is truly a book that everyone should read."

Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft, Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford, Chair of Judges

 

The result of her pioneering work into cognitive development in teenagers, Blakemore’s lively and engagingly written book blows apart the stereotypes surrounding adolescence. In showing that traits such as ‘laziness’ and increased risk-taking are an essential part of how the adult brain develops it opens the door to an entirely new way of viewing teenage behaviour and understanding how we come to explore and invent our adult selves.

 

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A professor in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore has been at the forefront of pioneering new research into the workings of the teenage brain. In Inventing Ourselves she shares the results of her research, challenging many of the commonly accepted stereotypes about and stigma shown towards teenage behaviour. Her experiments reveal that our teenage years may be essential not only to adult brain development but to the formation of personality. Engagingly and accessibly written, as the Times comments, ‘you will understand your children and your former selves better for reading it and you will bust a few myths as you go’.

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The Shortlist 

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Subtitled A Menagerie of the Misunderstood, Lucy Cooke’s new book breaks down the commonly held myths about animals – from Disney’s kindly bears to YouTube panda videos. Drawing on the work of early naturalists as well as ancient bestiaries and her own personal experience, she reveals the eye-opening truth about all manner of creatures from bats to beavers. What brings the book to life is Cooke’s wit and infectious enthusiasm; as the Express acclaims, ‘beautifully written, meticulously researched, with the science often couched in outrageous asides, this is a splendid read’. A shrewd, fresh and often very funny new look at the animal kingdom and the way our interaction with the creatures around us tell important stories about ourselves.

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£8.99 £7.49
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A professor in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore has been at the forefront of pioneering new research into the workings of the teenage brain. In Inventing Ourselves she shares the results of her research, challenging many of the commonly accepted stereotypes about and stigma shown towards teenage behaviour. Her experiments reveal that our teenage years may be essential not only to adult brain development but to the formation of personality. Engagingly and accessibly written, as the Times comments, ‘you will understand your children and your former selves better for reading it and you will bust a few myths as you go’.

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A gripping biological detective story, The Beautiful Cure is leading immunologist Professor Daniel Davis’s investigation into the scientific quest to understand the human immune system. Davis uncovers the revolutionary research revealing the complex network of specialist cells, proteins and dedicated genes which protect our bodies and generating new and exciting immunotherapies, transforming how we treat conditions from cancer to dementia. He also reveals the brilliant and indomitable figures whose work forged these revolutions and the cocktail of teamwork, rivalry and serendipity that fuels scientific breakthrough.

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From the development of driverless cars to automated finance, we live on the cusp of the age of the algorithm, but what does that mean for human decision-making? In her sharply written and eye-opening new book, Hello World, mathematician and popular science presenter Hannah Fry examines cutting-edge developments in algorithmic science. By looking at the ways in which our lives are increasingly dominated by social media and automated processes she considers where these technologies may take us in the future and our role in determining how.

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A materials engineer, broadcaster and award-winning writer, Mark Miodownik excels at communicating his enthusiasm and fascination for the material science that lies at the heart of our everyday lives. Told through the story of a plane journey, Liquid takes readers on a journey through the many different types of liquid that flow through our everyday lives and how and why they differ so radically. From the life-giving water we drink to jet-propelling fuel and liquid computers, he uncovers a world of substances essential to how we live and work that often pass unnoticed and that we rarely fully understand.

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From long distance telescopes to the minutiae of the Higgs boson, precision machinery lies behind some of technologies that built and shape the modern world. In his fascinating and in-depth new history, Simon Winchester – the bestselling author of The Map That Changed the World – examines what we mean by precision and introduces the figures and techniques that powered some of the greatest feats of precision engineering. From the age-old craft of screw threads to the first jet engine to the art of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost he asks fundamental questions about why we need precision and the potential risks of a precision-dominated world.

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