In his book, Nick Lane (above)charts the history of life on Earth by describing the ten greatest inventions of life, based on their historical impact, their importance in living organisms and their iconic power. For a full review of this book by Graham Cairns-Smith see Chemistry World, July 2009, p63.
The other shortlisted books (each author received a prize of £1000) were:
We need to talk about Kelvin by Marcus Chown (Faber and Faber)
Why does E=mc2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (Da Capo Press, Perseus Books Group)
Everyday practice of science: where intuition and passion meet objectivity and logic by Frederick Grinnell (Oxford University Press)
God's philosophers: how the medieval world laid the foundations of modern science by James Hannam (Icon Books) (reviewed in Chemistry World, December 2009, p69).
A world without ice by Henry Pollack (Avery Books, Penguin Group)
Previous winners of the award, which has been running for over 20 years, include Richard Holmes, Bill Bryson, Stephen J Gould, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking.