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 Bragg UNSW Press 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.

Winning entries will be included in NewSouth’s anthology, The Best Australian Science Writing. Other short-listed entries may also be included at the discretion of the editor.

 

2014 WINNER

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

 

2014 RUNNERS-UP

Frank Bowden Eleven grams of trouble (Inside Story)

Peter Meredith Weathering the storm (Australian Geographic)

 

2014 SHORTLIST

Frank Bowden Eleven grams of trouble (Inside Story)

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

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)

 

Winners for 2014 will be announced on November 6.

 

2013 WINNER

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

2013 RUNNERS-UP

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)

2013 SHORTLIST

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 Magazine)

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

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

 

2012 WINNER

Jo Chandler, Storm front (from Feeling the Heat, MUP 2011)

2012 RUNNERS UP

Ashley Hay, The Aussie mozzie posse (Good Weekend)

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

2012 SHORTLIST

Jo Chandler, Storm front (from Feeling the Heat, MUP 2011)

Wilson da Silva, Gateway to heaven (Cosmos Magazine)

Ashley Hay, The Aussie mozzie posse (Good Weekend)

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

Nick Miller, Licence 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.

 
 
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