Meanwhile each of the authors on the latest shortlist, announced today (24th September), will receive £2,500 instead of the previous £1,000.
Shortlisted this year are Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead (Bloomsbury), which examines the life of birds; The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll (Oneworld), following the hunt for the Higgs Boson; Cells to Civilizations by Enrico Coen (Princeton University Press), which discusses change and evolution; Pieces of Light by Charles Fernyhough (Profile), a study of memory; The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson (Granta), a 21st century bestiary examining fantastical creatures; and Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts (Allen Lane), which explores modern marine conservation.
Professor Uta Frith, chair of the judges, told The Bookseller: "It's fantastic news that the prize fund has been expanded, and it all comes down to the sponsors [Winton Capital Management]. I think now that the Man Booker Prize has shown it wants to be global, we want to celebrate the same aspect of our awards, and show we are open to any science books written in English. We welcome submissions from other countries, so that we can say we are honouring the best book on a scientific theme in the world."
Professor Frith said: “What stood out for us most was the sheer originality and the ambition of the books we selected for the shortlist." She added: "For many people, science continues to be seen as an inaccessible subject, but these books are all accessible and exciting, and show the amazing things that are happening in all fields of science today."
The winner will be announced at a public event at the Royal Society on 25th November. Also on the judging panel are comedian Jon Culshaw, scientist Dr Emily Flashman, novelist Joanne Harris and journalist Lucy Siegle.
The prize was first awarded in 1988 by the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science.