The UNSW Press Bragg Prize for Science Writing


From the furthest reaches of the universe to the microscopic world of our genes, science offers writers the kind of scope other subjects simply can't match. Good writing about science can be moving, funny, exhilarating or poetic, but it will always be honest and rigorous about the research that underlies it. 

To recognise the best of the best, UNSW Press has established an annual prize for the best short non-fiction piece on science written for a general audience. The UNSW Press Bragg Prize for Science Writing is named in honour of Australia’s first Nobel Laureates William Henry Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg and is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

First prize is $7000. Two runners-up will each receive a prize of $1500.

All the shortlisted entries are included in The Best Australian Science Writing 2021, NewSouth's annual collection featuring the finest Australian science writing of the year.

Entries for the Bragg Prize will close on the 31st of March 2021. The winner will be announced in November 2021.

Submissions for the UNSW Press Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing 2021 are open from April 2021 (see link to Student Prize below).




Ceridwen Dovey, Everlasting free-fall (Alexander)


Jackson Ryan, To the Dragon Palace and back (

Jo Chandler, The COVID–climate collision (Griffith Review)


Rebecca Giggs, Soundings (Scribe)

Nicole Hasham, Hail hydrogen: Powering the debate on future fuel (Griffith Review)

Fiona McMillan, The virus detectives (Cosmos)





Ceridwen Dovey, True Grit (WIRED)


Konrad Marshall, Jeepers creepers (Good Weekend)

Ricky French, Case of the missing frogs (Weekend Australian)


Lesley Hughes, The milk of human genius (The Monthly)

Donna Lu, Stranger things (New Scientist)

Nicky Phillips, Bringing home the ancestors (Nature)





Melissa Fyfe, Getting cliterate (The Good Weekend)


Cameron Muir, Ghost species and shadow places (Griffith Review)

Jackson Ryan, How CRISPR could save six billion chickens from the meat grinder (CNET)


Lesley Hughes, When planetary catastrophe is your day job (The Monthly)

Stephen Nicol, Oceans of krill (The Curious Life of Crill, Island Press)

Helen Sullivan, A tiny coral paradise in the Great Barrier Reef reckons with climate change (The New Yorker)





Alice Gorman, Trace fossils


Jo Chandler, Grave Barrier Reef (The Monthly)

Elmo Keep, The pyramid at the end of the world (Fusion TV)


Laura Parker, Inspired by nature (Guardian)

James Mitchell Crow, Impossible alloys (New Scientist)

James Bradley, Fish have feelings too (The Monthly)





Ashley Hay, The forest at the edge of time (Australian Book Review)


Susan Double, Beautiful contrivances (Orchids Australia)

Fiona McMillan, Lucy’s lullaby: Song for the ages (Luminous)


Nicole Gill, Every lizard counts (The Monthly)

Alice Gorman, Pluto and the human gaze (Space Age Archaeology)

James Bradley, Slippery migrants (The Monthly)





Christine Kenneally, The past may not make you feel better (from The Invisible History of the Human Race, Black Inc.)


Idan Ben-Barak, Why aren’t we dead yet (from Why Aren't We Dead Yet, Scribe)

Trent Dalton, Beating the odds (The Weekend Australian) 


James Mitchell Crow, Robots on a roll (Cosmos)

John Pickrell, Messages from Mungo (Australian Geographic

Michael Slezak, Aliens versus predators: ‚Äč The toxic toad invasion (New Scientist)





Jo Chandler, TB and me: A medical souvenir (The Global Mail)


Frank Bowden, Eleven grams of trouble (Inside Story)

Peter Meredith, Weathering the storm (Australian Geographic)


James Mitchell Crow, Is there room for organics? (Cosmos)

Stephen Pincock, The quantum spinmeister: Professor Andrea Morello (Cosmos)





Fred Watson, Here come the ubernerds: Planets, Pluto and Prague (from Star-Craving Mad: Tales from a travelling astronomer, Allen & Unwin)


Gina Perry, Beyond the shock machine (from Behind the Shock Machine: The untold story of the notorious Milgram psychology experiments, Scribe)

Chris Turney, Martyrs to Gondwanaland: The cost of scientific exploration (from 1912: The year the world discovered Antarctica, Text Publishing)


Jo Chandler, The last laughing death (The Global Mail)

Becky Crew, It's time to become gonads (from Zombie Tits, Astronaut Fish and Other Weird Animals, NewSouth)

Elizabeth Finkel, Dreamtime cave (Cosmos)

Clive Hamilton, Earthmasters: Playing God with the climate (from Earthmasters: Playing God with the climate, Allen & Unwin)





Jo Chandler, Storm front (from Feeling the HeatMUP)


Ashley Hay, The Aussie mozzie posse (Good Weekend)

Peter McAllister, The evolution of the inadequate modern male (Australasian Science)


Wilson da Silva, Gateway to Heaven (Cosmos)

Nick Miller, License to Heal (Sunday Age)

Wendy Zukerman, The roach's secret (New Scientist)



The Braggs won the 1915 Nobel Prize for physics for their work on the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays. Both scientists led enormously productive lives and left a lasting legacy. William Henry Bragg was a firm believer in making science popular among young people, and his Christmas lectures for students – a tradition he initiated – were described as models of clarity and intellectual excitement.

The biographical notes on the Braggs are from the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the Nobel Prize website.